NEAR Members Join Thousands of Realtors® in DC to Advocate Policy Issues Affecting Homeownership
Monday, May 21, 2018
Posted by: Maria Brogan
More than 9,000 Realtors® gathered in Washington, D.C. this week, during the 2018 REALTOR® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo, to advocate for crucial real estate issues on behalf of current and future home and property owners across the country.
Members of NEAR's board of directors including President Susan Callhan of Century 21 Commonwealth in Billerica, President-elect Mark Kavanagh of Keller Williams Realty North Central, Secretary Michael Sullivan of Thomas A.Sullivan Real Estate, Immediate Past President Will Molina of Coco, Early & Associates in Haverhill, and directors Darlene Sodano of Sodano Real Estatein Townsend and Dan Sullivan of Sullivan Realty Group in Chelmsford joined fellow Realtors® from throughout the U.S. to attend meetings and informational sessions, as well as meet with regulatory agency staff and lawmakers on Capitol Hill to discuss and advocate real estate issues affecting the real estate industry, and their businesses, communities and clients.
Members of the National Association of Realtors® focused on several significant issues affecting the industry during the legislative-focused meetings, including fair housing, flood insurance and internet neutrality.
“Realtors® are the leading advocates for homeownership and commercial real estate, which is why it is so critical that we connect with lawmakers and ensure they understand the issues facing the real estate industry and their constituents – of which many are home and property owners,” said President Callahan. “Supporting home and property owners through smart legislation and regulatory initiatives is essential to advancing our nation’s economy, as well as our communities, so Realtors® are continuing the fight to keep Congress’s attention on the issues that impact real estate most.”
While in Washington, members met with Massachusetts congressmen and women on Capitol Hill to discuss and advocate for public policy decisions affecting Americans’ ability to own, buy, rent and sell residential and commercial real estate.
When speaking with staff members of Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, Federal Political Coordinator Mike Sullivan and fellow Realtors® acknowledged the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act and urged Congress to adopt sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes under the Fair Housing Act, bringing it in line with NAR’s strict Code of Ethics. Additionally, Realtors® advocated for strong net neutrality protections; fought to extend and reform the National Flood Insurance Program; and urged Congress to index homeownership deductions for future inflation and permanently extend the tax exclusion on mortgage debt forgiveness.
“Realtors® are proud to lead the way toward greater equality in housing opportunities and are committed to furthering policies that support sustainable and inclusive communities without discrimination,” said Callahan.
During the meetings, Callahan and other attendees also heard from industry experts and leaders, including Acting Director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Mick Mulvaney, who spoke about the latest initiatives out of the CFPB, plans for improved efficiency of agency operations, as well as his perspectives on issues shaping the real estate industry.
In addition, attendees heard from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson, who discussed the nation’s commitment to fair housing during the conference’s General Session; U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri), who shared a personal story with attendees about the importance of safe and affordable housing for all Americans; realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Hale, who provided an overview of current conditions in the residential and commercial markets; Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator William “Brock” Long, who addressed a broad range of disaster and emergency management topics, such as National Flood Insurance Program reauthorization and federal disaster relief; and NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, who shared residential and commercial real estate market updates and forecasts for the remainder of 2018.
Callahan also had the opportunity to explore the latest industry innovations and receive the most recent information on the products and services from more nearly 100 industry-leading companies that participated during the trade expo.