Visits to Capitol Hill resume today. Yesterday, Realtor delegations from around the country met with their US Senators to discuss Federal Priority Issues important to real estate.
Connecticut Association CEO Cindy Butts meets U.S Senator Richard Blumenthal.
Iowa Realtors Mike Romig and John Goede meet retiring U.S Senator Tom Harkin.
Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney, wearing his “Homeownership is Not a Loophole” lanyard meets with Realtors from Eastern Connecticut.
First thing Wednesday morning, Realtors from around the country will be briefed for issue discussions with their Members of Congress during their Capitol Hill office visits.
Federal Priority Issues include:
1. Preserve the Mission and Purpose of the FHA Program. Ensure that the Federal Housing Administration single-family program has the tools and policies in place to meet its mission of providing access to safe, affordable mortgage financing to qualified borrowers nationwide.
2. Preserve Home Ownership Tax Policies. As congress considers proposals to reform the federal tax code, lawmakers should consider the vital roll that real estate tax provisions play in the nation's housing markets and economy, as well as the financial well-being of Americans and their families.
3. Restructure Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac and Encourage the Return of Private Capital. Restructure Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to ensure that affordable mortgages are available to consumers in all types of markets, and to avoid a major disruption to the nation's economy that would result from the total collapse of the housing finance sector.
If you are not in Washington, be sure to thank the Realtors in your Board upon their return, for carrying your message to political leaders.
It is hard to believe it is already that wonderful time of year again when REALTORS® descend on Washington DC for the Midyear Meetings. For many, this is their favorite NAR meetings of the year. I thought I’d take a few minutes to share how to make the most of this year’s Midyear Meetings, whether you are attending live or enjoying the action from your home market via Midyear Live.
Attending Midyear Meetings Live:
1. SCHEDULE – Be sure to familiarize yourself with the schedule on REALTOR.org. It is chock full of events that you will not want to miss. On the site you will find an event planner that is easy to use, where you can load all of the events you want to attend and add personal events as well. There is also a mobile app for Midyear which is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play.
2. CAN’T MISS – There are a few things you will NOT want to miss at Midyear. First is the new NAR 360 meeting which replaced the former 59 1/2 minutes. This new format is 90 minutes and is a great overview of what’s going on at NAR. It will be held Tuesday, May 14, 3:30-5:00 pm in the Marriott Ballroom. Another exciting addition to Midyear this year will be the data revealed from the REThink program that NAR’s Strategic Planning Committee has been working on. That will be held just prior to NAR 360. The Leadership Express series is one of my favorites each year. There are three 40 minute sessions that repeat on Friday, May 17, 1:30-3:00 pm. Following that on Friday are the Regional Caucuses. Be sure to find out where yours will be held. Saturday morning will wrap up the Midyear Meetings with the Board of Directors meeting. This is a great chance to see NAR governance in action. There are many committee meetings being held throughout the week and most are open to all members. Find a subject that interests you and pop in to a committee meeting. There is, of course, the Trade Expo, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 am – 6 pm, which is always a great place to see what’s new and network with attendees.
3. HILL VISIT – This is also a “can’t miss” but deserves it’s own category. Your state’s Capitol Hill Visits are also a key event at Midyear. Please reach out to your state association prior to Midyear to be sure you know when and where your meetings with your Members of Congress will be held. Prior to your hill visit you will want to familiarize yourself with the talking points that will be discussed. You can also attend the Federal Priority Issues Briefing from 7:00 – 8:00 am to get up to speed on these talking points.
4. NETWORKING – Midyear meetings are packed with some of the brightest minds and leaders in our industry. Do not miss this chance to meet, greet and network with these amazing people. There are opportunities galore to do this in the lobbies and halls. You can also leverage social media tools such as Twitter and Foursquare to see where impromptu meet ups and gatherings are taking place. I’ve noticed that relationships I built at my first and subsequent Midyear meetings are some of the best and only become stronger each year.
5. WASHINGTON, DC – It’s an incredible place. You’ll kick yourself if you don’t find time to slip away and enjoy some of the many things this city has to offer. Some of my favorite things are to visit the monuments and museums that surround DC. Check with your hotel’s concierge for some great suggestions.
Enjoying Midyear from your home market:
1. MIDYEAR LIVE – The Midyear Live site will be the central spot for all of the virtual coverage on site. NAR has put together a group of Featured Attendees that will be posting to the blog their personal experiences and live reports from Midyear.
2. TWITTER – Follow the tweets as they happen by simply tracking the official hashtag for Midyear – #NARmidyear
3. JUMP IN – Got a question, want to know something more from a meeting or event? ASK!!! That’s right, jump in and be part of the discussion. Post your questions or comments to the blog on Midyear Live. Tweet direct to an attendee or use the hashtag. Don’t be afraid to get involved and bring Midyear to life for you, even if you can’t be there!
Approximately 60 Utah REALTORS spent their afternoon discussing issues vital to the housing market with their Members of Congress. The afternoon started with a state caucus meeting with Jamie Gregory, one of NAR’s Chief Lobbyists, walking us through the major talking points of the day. Then it was off to Capitol Hill to meet with Senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, and Congressmen Jason Chaffetz, Rob Bishop and Jim Matheson.
One of the special highlights of the day was finishing our visit with Senator Mike Lee and then being invited to the Senate Chambers to watch him present his budget bill on the Senate Floor.
Following the close of the Senate session, we had the amazing opportunity of a private tour with Senator Lee’s chief of staff, Spencer Stokes. The Capitol was empty and we had the opportunity to enjoy the rotunda with no one else around. There is certainly something about standing in these hallowed halls and quietly soaking in the history and importance of this special place.
Spencer was such a gracious tour guide, showing us amazing places such as the President’s Room, the House Chapel, and a very special visit to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Room. The staff there was wonderful and shared many interesting and insight stories about what happens in that room.
My evening ended on a high note with a private dinner at the Capitol Hill Club with my Congressman, the Honorable Jason Chaffetz. I had a great time discussing a variety of things ranging from the Presidential Election to everyday life with him. As always, it’s a great opportunity to come to Washington DC and spend quality time with our elected officials.
Yesterday I blogged about the great work that our FPCs are doing with Members of Congress. But that work is not just reserved for FPCs – YOU can do it too!
I currently serve as the FPC to Senator Mike Lee of Utah. As it turns out, I also have a congressman that represents my interests to Washington DC. Even though I am not assigned as an FPC to Congressman Jason Chaffetz, I spend a lot of time working with, helping, and communicating with him about the issues that matter most to me and to our industry. I have volunteered on his campaign, which is vital to congressmen, as they are running for office every two years. I even built a shelving system for his campaign trailer to help organize the materials we use on the campaign trail. Each time I see Congressman Chaffetz he makes a point to personally greet me by my first name. He takes my calls and listens to my issues.
You can do this too! Reach out to your Member of Congress. Simply ask where you can best help them.
1. Organize a Town Hall Meeting
2. Volunteer to work on their campaign
3. Organize a fundraiser for their re-election
4. Thank them for their hard work
and many others… The important thing is that you DO SOMETHING TO HELP your Member of Congress. Remember, you gotta give before you receive. I’m looking forward to seeing Congressman Chaffetz today, and I know it will be an effective meeting, because I know him, and more importantly, he knows me!
Good luck with your Hill Visits today and tomorrow!
Midyear is always chock full of opportunities to learn more about our industry, association, and especially the legislative issues that we will be facing in the coming year. The following are just a few of the things I am excited to attend and/or participate in during 2011 Midyear:
1. Networking: This is always a favorite, but especially at Midyear where many of the greatest minds in our association gather. The hallway meetings, the YPN and RPAC receptions, regional and state caucuses, and so many other opportunites to engage and interact with the people who make NAR the leading advocate for home ownership.
2. Capitol Hill Visits: This is literally where the rubber meets the road and we make our biggest impact in fighting to protect the attacks that our clients and our industry face. I am especially excited for our meeting with Senator Mike Lee of Utah. Mike is the youngest US Senator, my second cousin, and I serve as his FPC (Federal Political Coordinator) for NAR.
3. Dome Tour: Speaking of Senator Lee, he has graciously agreed to give my executive team from the Utah County Association of REALTORS a tour of the US Capitol Dome. This is sure to be a highlight of our trip! Video and pictures will definitely be coming!
4. Committee Meetings: There will be many of these taking place throughout the week. I sit on Strategic Planning where we will be discussing the future direction of NAR. I also serve on Public Policy Coordinating Committee where we look at the policy issues facing NAR. Many of these committee meetings are open to members so pick your favorite topic and sit in and see what’s happening.
5. Sessions: Some of my favorites will be the 59 1/2 Minutes membership update, the Legislative & Political Forum, and the Symposium on Mortgage Liquidity. Be sure to thoroughly check the scheduled agenda to be sure you don’t miss anything.
This year’s Midyear promises to be one of the most memorable. I’m looking forward to starting it off bright and early tomorrow morning. Be sure to say hi if you see me out and about, I’ll have my video camera with me and would love to video your thoughts and impressions of Midyear to share with the membership!