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2012-05-21 08:19:22
Mr. Sloan goes to Washington!

Last week marked the 10th consequtive year I've attended the NAR Midyear meetings in Washington, DC. I started going back in 2002, as I was preparing to become the UAR Legislative Committee Chair the following year. I felt at the time, that if I was going to Chair, I ought to have some sort of understanding of the subject matter!

As the years have gone by, the annual trip has evolved into more than just politics and Realtor stuff. Berna and I have used it to get better educated on all Realtor issues, not just political ones. We've taken countless classes, listened to an endless array of amazing speakers and leaders. We've also used it as an opportunity to spend time together, in a beautiful city with rich history, a subject that's been a life-long passion of mine, and new discovery for Berna.

But, like many things, it had gotten a bit 'dated'. There are places that we visit each year because we love them, like Arlington National Cemetary, and the Lincoln Memorial. We go there because they inspire us, and remind us how grateful we should be for those that came before us, paving the way for us to be able to live the life we do. But, you can only take so many classes on short-sales. You can only hear so many presentations on the next 'flavor of the month' technology that will make your business explode. 

Admittedly, due to some issues within our family the last few months, this trip was really the last thing I wanted to be doing this year. There wasn't anything really 'sexy' going on for the NAR Board of Directors (no dues increase!) to get excited about. The class/meeting schedule looked pretty light. I even gave some thought to simply flying in the night before the BOD meeting and then flying out immediately after. But, Berna convinced me that the trip would be a good idea. As usual she was spot on.

We left Monday, but let me jump to Wednesday (I'll talk about Gettysburg at another time!) This was 'Hill Visit' day for us here in Utah, a chance for the Utah Realtors to meet with our Congressional Delegattion and talk about our 'issues'. This year, it was all about protecting the mortgage interest deduction, extending the National Flood insurance program, fixing the appraisal problems, etc. As usual, we have it easy, as all five of our folks are already staunch supporters of property rights, so for us it was mostly a thank you trip. 

My epiphany came on Thursday. Epiphany is probably not right, as I've always thought of that as a 'new' idea popping into my head. Maybe 'reminder' would be a better word. Thursday was the day for the 'Realtor Rally' at the Washington Monument. It wasn't something that I'd planned on participating in. Didn't sound very fun to stand around for a couple of hours in the sun, listening to a bunch of rah rah about Realtors. I'd heard it all before. 

However, as Kaci from UAR had registered us for the event, we decided to go for a few minutes. Besides, we got a free t-shirt, so the trip wouldn't be wasted. When we arrived, there were already several hundred Realtors gathered. Plus, they gave us breakfast! Over the next hour, those hundreds became thousands, all wearing the 'Realtor Blue' shirts and carrying signs about 'Protecting the American Dream'. By the time we got rolling, nearly 14,000 Realtors were in the pPark, with a similar amount watching online. Through good luck, Utah was placed front and center in front of the huge stage, so we had great seats to hear the message. 

The message was a simple one. In the words of NAR President Moe Veissi, 'Realtors are the architects of the American Dream'. It's true. But, before you snicker at the seeming self-serving nature of this remark, think about what we do. It doesn't stop when we sell the home. It's much much bigger than that. Each home sold is much more than a commission check. It's the thousands of dollars pumped back into the economy. It's the jobs that are created every time a home is built and sold. It's the lower divorce rate among home owners vs renters, lower crime rates, better grades and test scores among students, and countless other demographic advantages homeownership has over rental areas. As I'm constantly reminding people, real estate is local, and local means making my neighborhood, town and State better places to live. 

Home ownership has been in decline over the last several years. There are many reasons for that. However, we need to continue to fight for that 'American Dream', for the reasons above, and countless others. That Dream is one of the reasons that America is the Country that it is. Realtors have been fighting to protect that Dream for decades, and will continue to do so. That was what I needed to be reminded of. Mission accomplished. I'm leaving now to deliver my RPAC major donation check to the UAR, something I didn't do last year. I won't miss again. I hope you will do the same, and soon. Because, as one of the speakers at the Rally said, 'no one comes to this Country with the hopes of becomeing a tenant!'


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