Bonnie Smith Goes To Washington

At Mid Year meetings for the National Association of Realtors, realtors and leadership meet with legislators on Capitol Hill

I write this today from the National Association of Realtors Mid-Year Meetings in Washington D.C. Realtors from all over the country converge this week on our seat of government for meetings with various leadership committees, as well as to meet with legislators from their respective states on Capitol Hill.

 When I first attended this week of meetings, I was struck by the commitment level of our government officials and saw them in a totally different light. After all, here they are working at their jobs- they are not engaged in the process of running for office. The dynamics are different and their focus is clear. It was a revelation. I came back and made the commitment to the Realtor organization to financially support our Realtors Political Action Committee and to become more involved and informed.

Last night on 60 Minutes, I was distressed to see a very one-sided segment on Realtors by Leslie Stahl. She focused primarily on the monetary aspects of the Realtor debate, without giving justice or understanding or even a cursory discussion about service, consumer protection, or ethical standards of representation.

Some of you reading this and watching that segment will undoubtedly be other Realtors, some will be real estate practitioners, and some will be members of the public. So, this got me thinking….

We spend a great deal of time talking about the “branding” of the Realtor “R.” I am a member of the Colorado Association of Realtors’ Public Relations committee which runs media campaigns across the state which ask, “Why use a Realtor?”  I am also a member of the National Association of Realtors’ Communications Committee which oversees our publications and the national advertising which also says, “Make sure your agent is a Realtor.”

There are many reasons to choose a Realtor given in these media vignettes. Perhaps the most compelling reason to choose a Realtor is this: Realtors are here in Washington D.C. and in their State governments, and their local Town meetings and City Councils fighting every day for private property rights for each and every American. We represent everyone- not just the big developers, but the “little guy”- the first time home buyer who is struggling to save enough money to put a down payment on his or her first property. We help every American realize the American dream of home ownership!

Many things in our country affect the way our citizens function on a daily basis. Your Realtor does not pretend to cure cancer, set the price of oil, or negotiate trade agreements to lower food costs. However, your Realtor and 1,350,000 members of our Association represent you every day in the battle to get ahead in your daily life by supporting your right to YOUR piece of the pie- your home.
So, why am I a Realtor? Because, at the end of the day, I believe in being part of something bigger than myself. I believe that as a part of the largest trade association in this country comprised of independent business owners who compete with each other every day, I can make a real difference. I invite you, as we near our 100th anniversary of the National Association of Realtors to recognize, as I do, that Realtors directly affect the quality of life for millions of Americans every day. To me, that makes all the difference.