The 3,400-member Knoxville Area Association of REALTORS® (KAAR) decided it needed some help when the city began revising its local sign ordinance. The proposal wasn’t looking pretty for the real estate community when they turned to NAR’s Land Use Initiative for valuable legal review and analysis. In the end, they had a reasoned dialog with city policymakers and got a fair and reasonable sign ordinance that reflects industry standards. Plus, the process helped KAAR build a stronger relationship with their local government.
For the second year in a row, the Missouri REALTORS® (MR) blocked a deep-pocketed individual from advancing his plan to eliminate the state income tax. The burden for filling the revenue void would likely have fallen on real estate sales and services, which would have hit MR’s 18,000 members square in the pocketbook, not to mention shut many home buyers and investors out of the market. Using an Issues Mobilization Grant for polling, they were able to show that the pubic did not want this to happen. The polling results were used to help defeat the issue in legal proceedings, before engaging in a larger campaign fight.
In a rare tempest of the calendar, the 4,200-member New Orleans Metropolitan Association of REALTORS® found itself with precious little time to launch an independent expenditure campaign for Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s re-election. This was thanks to an unlikely confluence of the date of its new trustees’ installation and first PAC meeting, the Orleans Parish Election Day, and — oh yes — Mardi Gras. Landrieu (the brother of U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, a longtime REALTOR® Champion, herself,) had worked tirelessly to improve the overall quality of life in the City of New Orleans and Orleans Parish, but was facing a tough election. The REALTORS® of New Orleans were successful and helped Landrieu win with 64 percent of the vote.
In two especially tight November elections, working closely with neighboring local associations, the 5,000-member Seattle King County Association of REALTORS® pushed the campaigns of two REALTOR® Champions over the top. When the dust had cleared, one was elected mayor of Auburn, Washington, and the other, a commercial REALTOR® in Bellevue, was re-elected to their city council.
The 82-member Carbon County Association of REALTORS®, based in the borough of Lehighton in the foothills of the Pennsylvania Poconos, knew their three-stoplight town needed help. After suffering the loss of its traditional industries – garment mills and the railroad – decades ago, the four-block business district was in a bad state of decline. After learning about the REALTOR® Party’s Smart Growth Grant Program, the association leaders applied for help, and they got it.
Sun Valley REALTORS® Use Issues Mobilization Grant To Bring More Flights and Business to Local Resort Market
Ever since the world’s first chairlift was installed at the Sun Valley Resort in the 1930s, the local economy of this idyllic resort community has been chiefly dependent on visitors. A number of these tourists will become second home owners at the highest end of the market. The 320-member Sun Valley Board of REALTORS® (SVBR) knew they needed to do something to help support and attract non-stop flights from nearby cities. These flights bring in their customer base, and more importantly, are the ticket to sustaining a robust economy. So they used an Issues Mobilization Grant from NAR to help run a campaign to pass an additional 1 percent sales tax allocated specifically to air service funding. They won – and already a new non-stop flight from San Francisco is landing in Sun Valley.
When the economy crashed in Gaston County, NC, it crashed hard. Unemployment grew and the housing market suffered. As conditions began to improve last year, the 270-member Gaston Association of REALTORS® decided to help the public understand the opportunities to be had in their recovering market by hosting a housing fair in the town’s brand new convention center. With the help of a $5,000 Housing Opportunity Grant from NAR, they drew nearly 500 people to the April event. Attendees visited booths of industry professionals ranging from lenders and home inspectors to landscapers and cabinet refinishers. The fair was such a hit that plans are already underway to host another one next year.
For 20 years now, the 280-member REALTOR® association in Monroe County, Mich., (MCAR) on the western shore of Lake Erie, has been hosting an annual auction to raise money for RPAC. This year, with the help of a $2,500 grant from NAR taking the strain from its operating budget, MCAR exceeded its RPAC goal by more than 33 percent, raising in excess of $8,000. From a week-long stay at a member’s cabin, to a boat trip captained by another member, to homemade chocolate chip cookies, the auctioned items drew spirited bidding wars and hefty RPAC investments.
Fort Collins REALTORS® Use Independent Expenditure Campaign to Support Four City Council Candidates: Three Win
When an NAR dues increase went into effect two years ago, the Fort Collins Board of REALTORS® (FCBR) made a promise to its 750 members to bring those dollars back to the northern Colorado community, in the form of grants from the REALTOR® Party. This spring, it made good on that promise, supporting four candidates for local election, including the mayor, with an Independent Expenditure Grant from NAR. The funding paid for get-out-the-vote calls, and a combination of online advertising and social media messaging that reached the youthful voting population of the college town more effectively than traditional print media. Three of the four candidates who benefited from FCBR’s support, won: the incumbent mayor, and two of the candidates running for City Council.
Some gals have all the luck! Sure enough, at the Association Executive Institute in San Diego this spring, Lady Luck rewarded two participants who had generously invested in the REALTOR® Political Action Committee – by simply participating in the drawing. The stakes were high (the prizes were iPad minis!) but both winners graciously point out that the chance of winning a nifty techno-gadget was not the incentive. Lauren Hansen, CEO of IRES, the MLS serving northern Colorado, and Carol Heins, AE for the Mid-Fairfield County Association in Connecticut, became Major Investors as a result of their investments during the sweepstakes. Both winners noted the importance of investing in their members’ business and remembering who they work for.