Wendy Cole is the managing editor of REALTOR® Magazine. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
REALTORS® are tackling issues in their own backyards—with support from their associations.
May - June
The REALTOR® Party pours millions of dollars into communities around the country to help them mobilize around issues that affect housing and commercial development and to support candidates who champion REALTOR® policy priorities. Three recent wins may inspire you to learn more about what you can accomplish in your local area.
Spokane REALTORS® Get Behind Pro-Growth Candidates
The Challenge: Residents of Spokane, Wash., faced record low inventory, double-digit housing price increases, and low apartment vacancy rates. Antigrowth positions of the outgoing mayor and incumbent city council members were exacerbating the crisis.
REALTOR® Party Involvement: Six independent expenditure campaigns supported the election of mayoral and city council candidates committed to removing barriers to housing development.
The Result: Four of the six candidates won their races last November. The new mayor, Nadine Woodward, had even attended the candidate training academy that gives REALTORS® and REALTOR® friendly candidates an introduction to running for elected office. Woodward vowed to include REALTORS® on a task force tackling the housing issue.
South Carolina REALTORS® Spearhead a Winning Campaign for School Funding
The Challenge: Over 11 years, citizens of fast-growing Beaufort County, S.C., had turned down every local bond referendum to fund additional school spending, leaving schools with insufficient resources to address rising enrollment and building maintenance. The public had lost trust in the school board, which was dealing with ethics issues and other dysfunction.
REALTOR® Party Involvement: The Hilton Head Area REALTORS® and the Beaufort Jasper County REALTORS® received an Issues Mobilization Grant to supplement their own funding. With the money, the associations launched a get-out-the-vote campaign in support of a two-part, $344 million referendum to expand and improve school programs and facilities.
Read more REALTOR® Party success stories from around the country at realtorparty.realtor/news/success-stories.
The Result: Online ads, phone calls, and direct mail to voting households, along with turnover in the school board leadership, helped get the referendum passed with more than 70% of the vote.
Greater Providence REALTORS® Push Back on Property Tax Change
The Challenge: When officials in Barrington, R.I., announced an abrupt change in the way property taxes would be assessed, REALTORS® and other community members feared increased costs for homeowners and disinvestment in the town. Assessments, which had long followed a three-year schedule, would be based on a home’s recent sale price.
REALTOR® Party Involvement: After consulting with the Rhode Island Association of REALTORS®, the Greater Providence Board of REALTORS® reached out to NAR for help. The local association put out a call for action though NAR’s Advocacy Everywhere program to get the word out about the harm posed by this change. Within two days, GPBOR launched mobile alerts and an email campaign to add to the public outcry over the new tax system.
The Result: Within days, the tax official reversed course, reverting to the usual schedule of reviewing property value every three years or when notable improvements were made. The outcome has inspired the state association to propose statewide legislation that would prohibit such unilateral property tax assessment decisions elsewhere.
Updated: June 04, 2020