L.A.R.A. Goes to Washington – 2019

Highlights from DC – 2019 REALTOR Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo

L.A.R.A. Leadership at NAR 360* in DC, May 2019

Lakes Area REALTORS® Association President Wade Williams and CEO Denise Schultz traveled to D.C. for the annual National Association of REALTORS event on behalf of the assosciation. Becky Merwin and Bernie Weiss attended at their own expense but are also members of the 2019 L.A.R.A. Board of Directors and we appreciate their leadership and personal investments. Members Steve Beers, WRA Chair-Elect and Sue Miller, IRA Treasurer and possibly others were also in attendance at the national gathering of REALTORS® and staff from around the world. All members are encouraged to attend and/or take advantage of the resources available to learn what occurred.

Tuesday, May 14

On Tuesday, we joined hundreds of Realtors® from around the world and listened to a political forum with two former Governors – Haley Barbour (R-Mississippi) and Terry McAuliffe (D-Virginia). They were candid, informative and entertaining as they shared their views on today’s political and legislative environment, and the 2020 presidential election. Although there were obvious differences in opinion, both gentlemen agree strongly that “Congress is broken,” “the Senate barely even talk to one another anymore” and the polarization in today’s political world is causing ineffectiveness that is “disgraceful.” Haley Barbour said, “Everyone has become purists. In a two-party system purity is the enemy of victory.” (Meaning in any situation, two sides need to compromise and communicate to come up with solutions.) He quoted Ronald Reagan saying to him, “A fella’ that agrees with you 80% of the time is your friend and ally, not a 20% traitor and enemy.” Terry McAuliffe, a very successful entrepreneur and a real estate champion couldn’t stress strongly enough that local government is much more effective than Federal and we should all remember to be involved at the local and state levels to make an impact in our communities. We learned about gerrymandering, education and school issues and more from these brilliant leaders and we are all grateful for the opportunities offered by the National Association of REALTORS® and hope others will consider investing the time and expense to experience this phenomenal week of meetings and experiences.

NAR 360* is what most would consider the “kickoff” of NAR conventions. It could be described as a combination of a meeting and pep rally. The audience was energized by the messaging of the “THAT’S WHO WE R” campaign which you will continue to see and hear everywhere from social media to national television, print ads, merchandise and more. We will provide information on the many, many resources available to you as a member to brand yourself as part of this powerful movement focused on teaching consumers all that REALTORS® do in our communities. If you are excited to jump on board – check it out here: https://www.nar.realtor/thats-who-we-r/our-campaign-is-your-campaign

Late in the day we learned that President Trump would be speaking to us on Friday, which set the wheels of readjustment into motion as everything on the schedule got moved around to allow for the first sitting President of the United States since 2005 to address our body. Excitement and of course some push-back filled the air as we prepared for this historical moment.

Wednesday, May 15

Wisconsin REALTORS® and staff headed to “The Hill” to meet with legislators about those issues most greatly affecting our industry. Denise had governance meetings at the hotel while Becky, Wade and others met with Congressmen Steil, Duffy, Grotham, Senators Johnson and Baldwin. As in previous years, hot topics included our need for national flood insurance to be renewed long term, affordable health care for our members, and affordable housing. Our legislators are receptive but overall, we need more cooperation from both sides to get things done in D.C.

Wade and Becky attended in-depth economic updates with NAR’s Chief Economist, the brilliant Dr. Lawrence Yun, PhD and would be happy to share information with those who would like to take time to learn more. Or, learn more here: https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/realtors-remain-positive-on-commercial-market-as-economy-remains-robust

Denise attended various committee meetings and met with association executives from around the country, sharing challenges and celebrating successes. Some of the time during this week is spent at dinners, receptions, touring the city with friends we meet across the nation, or friends/family that we invite to join us. This time is as valuable as that spent in meeting rooms and convention halls. The D.C. experience is filled with opportunities for education, motivation and reminders of what is great about our nation. There are a multitude of free opportunities including admission to the National Zoo and most museums and no shortage of amazing dining options, beautiful architecture, and opportunities to learn and be inspired. Everywhere we turn during this week, others in our industry surround us and conversations lend new perspectives. We strongly encourage others to consider making the trip.

Friday, May 17

Friday is “Leadership Day.” The morning began with rapid round format Leadership Express sessions. Aimed at the audience of association presidents and future presidents, industry leaders spoke to us about tools to measure our effectiveness as leadership and how to stay focused on plans and achieve goals, how to stay on point in communications, and staying focused on and listening to the needs of members. Friday’s Leadership Luncheon featured NAR’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, Shannon McGahn interviewing Daniel Lippman, a reporter for POLITICO and a co-author of POLITICO’s Playbook. Immediately following their interview, the buzz of the President of the United States’ upcoming address could be felt throughout the hotels as hundreds waiting in line for Secret Service screening, etc.

Our L.A.R.A. president Wade Williams took a chance and was able to get a seat fairly quickly. Steve Beers, WRA Chair Elect was seated very near the stage, as others of us took our seats in satellite locations where the speech was broadcast on large screens. It was a very exciting experience as he spoke for over an hour to a charged crowd about the economy, real estate and the value of working with professionals, and more. While we realize not everyone supports the man or his behavior, he is the President of the United States and we were honored by his visit, the first in 15 years by a sitting U.S. President and his first to a trade association in our arena.  Learn more at: https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/president-trump-addresses-realtors-at-nar-s-annual-legislative-meetings 

Saturday, May 18 The National Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors approved the 2020 NAR budget with no dues increase ($150), and a three-year extension of the $35 per member annual special assessment to fund NAR’s national ad campaign. (Total per member remains at $185 for 2020.) Again, you can learn more here: https://www.nar.realtor/thats-who-we-r/our-campaign-is-your-campaign

Now we are back in the Lakes Area and soon we’ll be preparing for the fall NAR convention – November 8-11 in San Francisco. Learn more at: https://www.conference.realtor/ and definitely ask one of us who attends national meetings for more insight if you’re interested.

Next up is the WRA Annual Convention at the Kalahari in Wisconsin Dells September 10 and 11. Learn more at: www.wra.org/convention

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