The Benefits of Early Investments

 Mike Theo  |    July 07, 2014

Most REALTORS® are hard at work during the summer selling season, and hopefully that includes you. But a small group of REALTORS® are investing their most precious asset — their time — to meet with legislative candidates across the state to discuss key REALTOR® and property owner issues that will be debated next session at the state capitol. It’s an early and important investment that benefits all REALTORS®, homeowners and property owners throughout Wisconsin.

Local REALTOR® leaders and WRA staff are in the process of traveling across the state interviewing candidates for the state Senate and Assembly who will face voters in the August 12 primaries and November 4 general elections. In many cases, these interviewing teams will be making recommendations to the state REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) trustees to support candidates and provide financial support for their campaigns with RPAC funds and/or by encouraging personal REALTOR® contributions through the Direct Giver Conduit program. 

While laborious, these candidate interviews are tremendous learning experiences for us and for the candidates. For us, we are learning more about each candidate’s background, the issues they’re passionate about, their views toward business and economic growth, their approach to solving problems, their perspective on tax and regulatory policies, and their attitudes toward homeownership and the protection of private property rights. We also learn about the viability of their campaigns and mechanics on how they intend to win their election.

For candidates, these interviews are a way to learn about our industry, our association, and issues that matter to the homeowners and property owners we represent. The issues we discuss range from general philosophical positions on land use and property rights as well as tax policies and regulations, to very specific issues regarding property tax relief, license law, school funding, environmental regulations, tax reform, campaign finance reform, right to rent and tax liens on property. Whether or not candidates ultimately receive our support or eventually win their election, the interviewing process allows us to focus their attention on issues that matter to homeowners/voters and to Wisconsin’s economy, and in so doing, explain who we are and what issues matter to us. 

This effort is in addition to the support given to incumbent legislators of both parties and in both houses of the legislature who have a track record of supporting WRA-backed issues. So far we have voted to support 12 of the 17 incumbent Senators and 70 of the 90 Assembly Representatives up for re-election this year.

Last session we successfully lobbied the legislature to pass 18 of 19 legislative priorities as separate, diverse, and in many cases complex, pieces of legislation. These bills all received bipartisan support — which is truly a remarkable feat given the hyper-partisan nature of politics in this day and age. And 11 of those 18 bills passed with unanimous support of both parties in both houses of the legislature! This remarkable track record started with a meeting, perhaps an interview, with a candidate and an exchange of ideas — which led to a relationship, which in many cases led to political support, which led to our ability to pass good laws and defeat bad ones ... which helps homeowners, property owners and REALTORS®.

In the weeks and months ahead, you’ll be hearing and reading a lot about the elections and about the candidates we support. In every case, this support is based on real estate-related issues only and is the result of incumbents who have a demonstrable track record of support for our issues or with a candidate interview. We owe a big thanks to the REALTORS® and WRA staff who are spending their summer, in part, on the road meeting candidates, talking about key real estate issues, and laying the groundwork for future legislative success.

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