by Gary Thomas, 2012 NAR President-Elect
Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Republican National Convention along with 2012 NAR Treasurer Bill Armstrong and 2012 Vice President and Liaison to Government Affairs Scott Louser in Tampa, Florida. While everyone was nervous about Hurricane Isaac hitting during the convention, it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm for our message that Homeownership Matters to America!
The convention was an outstanding opportunity for REALTORS® to meet and talk with GOP elected-officials and candidates about the important role that real estate plays in our economy.
We also saw how important it is for REALTORS® to get involved in the political process. The week before the convention when the platform was being drafted, the committee overlooked including language about protecting the mortgage interest deduction (MID). Shirley Wiseman and April Newland, both REALTORS® who were on the platform committee, won approval for language that explicitly puts Republicans on record pledging protection of the MID, although it first gives a nod to the party’s priority to seek comprehensive tax reform. If that doesn’t pass, protecting the MID is paramount. It is an excellent example of REALTORS® being at the right place at the right time.
The Real Estate Roundtable also hosted a panel discussion on the importance of a strong real estate market to creating a robust economic recovery. There were representatives from commercial, hospitality, multifamily, and architects to make the case. I had the opportunity to represent REALTORS®. Our good friend and former REALTOR®, Senator Johnny Isakson was also a member of the panel. We talked about the importance of maintaining federal incentives for homeownership and ensuring that market-stifling high down payments are not the result of a narrow definition of provisions in the Dodd-Frank law. We all advocated for a broad definition of these provision, just as Congress intended. Senator Isakson was outstanding on the issue since he was involved in writing the language. The Real Estate Round Table will sponsor the same panel at the DNC convention, and 2012 NAR First Vice President Steve Brown will be representing REALTORS®. If you have a chance, the panel will be live streamed for everyone to watch.
Overall it was a remarkable experience, and I was proud to see our REALTOR® involvement pay off at such a crucial moment.
Gary Thomas, 2012 NAR President-Elect