Last year, a communications survey by the Minnesota REALTORS® revealed one thing loud and clear: members wanted messages from the association to be short, sweet, to the point, and—deliverable to their phones. Duly noted! This year, as it planned its annual lobby day at the State Capitol in St. Paul, the Minnesota REALTORS®‘ Government Affairs team promoted the advocacy event using REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts. The response, and the impact, was a great success.
Kevin Zabel, the association’s Director of Political Affairs, explains that the REALTORS® are currently pursuing a diverse slate of legislative policies housed under one umbrella package, known as the Minnesota Homeownership Initiative (MNHI)—mnhomeownership.com.
The centerpiece of the eight policies included in the MNHI is the First-Time Homebuyers Savings Account Act, a proposed tax deduction that has received strong support from the REALTOR® Party in states across the country. As this and other policies included in the MNHI are of significant interest to the development and building industry, the REALTORS® have partnered with the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC), and the two trade groups joined forces for Housing Day at the Capitol on February 23. With more than 600 participants covering more than 80% of Minnesota’s legislative offices, the REALTORS® and the Builders came away with a strengthened legislative position, deeper relationships with legislators and considerable member pride.
“This is a partnership that makes perfect sense. Both of our groups care deeply about homeownership and housing affordability for all. Our Housing Day at the Capitol and the Minnesota Homeownership Initiative are great examples of this partnership in action and we know we have elevated housing issues in a new, powerful way,” said BATC CEO David Siegel.
Throughout the day, REALTORS® and Builders met with their respective home legislators. “Some meetings involved two members, and some were closer to two dozen,” reports Zabel. “Either way, this is a powerful way to introduce our Representatives and Senators to our joint legislative priorities; hearing stories from the public, their own constituents, provides a compelling context for when they eventually sit down to hammer out the details of a bill.” Indeed, following Housing Day at the Capitol, he notes, there was a gratifying bump-up in the number of legislators wanting to sign on as co-sponsors of the legislation.
Minnesota REALTORS®‘ lobby days had seen a decline in engagement in recent years, for many reasons, says Zabel, and the REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts allowed his team to drive registration through new channels. Looking forward, says Zabel, Minnesota REALTORS® will continue building REALTOR® Party Mobile Alerts into its strategic plan for political advocacy. As for Housing Day at the Capitol, he says, the association fully intends to repeat the successful new format again next year. They’ll be getting the word out via text.
To learn more about how the Minnesota REALTORS® upped their impact at the State Capitol, contact Kevin Zabel, the association’s Director of Political Affairs, at 651-262-5973.