A Message from President Mike Theo: The Sun Came Up

An election epilogue


 Mike Theo  |    December 10, 2018
Presidents Message

The sun came up on November 7. So what, you ask? Well, given the hyper-heated rhetoric in the recently concluded midterm elections, some voters thought this recurring astrological event would be gone forever if their candidates didn’t win. 

Unlike those kids‚Äô sports that give everyone a participation trophy, elections do have winners and losers, and they do have consequences. This election was no exception. But the sun did come up the next day ‚ÄĒ for everyone ‚ÄĒ whether they were victorious or not.

What’s my point? A new governor, a new legislature and a new congress will all assume their new duties come early January. Some of them we supported, and some of them we didn’t, but as we have always done, we will reach out to everyone in search of common ground on key issues that help property owners in Wisconsin and across the country. 

This process starts with a heartfelt congratulations to Wisconsin’s new governor, Tony Evers. We have been able to work on many issues in the past with the governor-elect, and we are confident that this will serve as the foundation for a productive and mutually respectful relationship. 

We also congratulate the legislative leaders of both Houses and of both parties for the spirited campaigns they ran, and we look forward to continuing our close work with every one of them in the upcoming legislative session.

If you feel this sounds a bit too sanguine, it‚Äôs not. The WRA has had a long and proud record of working across the political spectrum on issues that help property owners and our members. And I‚Äôm happy to say that over the years, lawmakers of both parties have been willing to listen, and in many cases, support our issues, regardless of which party controls the legislature, the governor‚Äôs office or the regulatory agencies. While we don‚Äôt expect to receive support from every elected official on every REALTOR¬ģ issue, we do expect, and nearly always receive, their willingness to meet and listen to our positions.¬†

This bipartisan support is in part due to our professional advocacy approach and the commitment from our members to stay informed and involved. But it’s also a testimony to the fact that our issues are not politically partisan in nature. 

Our issues generally fall under the following categories:

  1. Make home and property ownership more affordable.
  2. Protect private property rights.
  3. Remove hurdles to successful real estate transactions.
  4. Make necessary infrastructure investments.
  5. Remove barriers to residential and commercial development.
  6. Make ownership of rental property less onerous.

These issues need not be partisan. With your help, we can ensure they are not.

As we realign our advocacy efforts from political campaign mode to legislative policy mode, I thank all of you for your civil engagement in our political process. There were political disagreements among our membership that were every bit as intense as the disagreements in the general public. However, for the most part, REALTORS¬ģ demonstrated partisan disparities with respect for one another. In the process, we also raised a record amount of contributions to RPAC and the Direct Giver program. This historic level of participation during a time of intense political tumult is to be commended. Thank you for showing others that political passion need not produce personal disparagement.¬†

Moving forward, I ask that each of you remain engaged as we enter the legislative session. I invite you to maintain that electoral passion when we ask for help in advocating our issues with your legislators through calls to action, attending REALTOR¬ģ & Government Day, and meeting with your lawmakers back home.¬†

To all the candidates, regardless of whether they prevailed or not, and to all of you who supported them and participated in the critical duties of our democracy, I say thanks for engaging. Or as President Theodore Roosevelt said, thanks for getting in ‚Äúthe arena.‚ÄĚ I‚Äôll end by quoting him from a speech, ‚ÄúCitizenship in a Republic,‚ÄĚ delivered in Paris on April 23, 1910:

‚ÄúIt is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.‚Ä̬†

“The sun came up on November 7. The voters have spoken. Let's get to work." 

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