The Difference: You

November 1, 2002

During the past year as your president, I’ve had the privilege of working closely with some of the most important people in the world: REALTORS®.

When I look over the past 12 months and see your accomplishments, I see the “power of one” at work: one individual, one idea, one association making a difference. We’ve fared very well in the tough challenges we faced this year—and we did so because of your dedication, your stick-to-itiveness. I want to thank you for your participation.

I’m particularly proud of three accomplishments.

1. We stalled the banks.

You carried the fight to Capitol Hill and stopped the big banking conglomerates in their tracks. More than 260 members of Congress heard your voice and have taken our side in the struggle by cosponsoring legislation to keep the big banks out of real estate brokerage and management. Your letters, more than 300,000 strong, prompted U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill to postpone implementing the rule.

The battle isn’t over. The banks are looking forward to taking action on the rule next year. Your 2003 NAR President, Cathy Whatley, has asked me to continue to lead the fight on this crucial issue, and I’ve accepted that challenge. The banks surely aren’t going to quit, and neither am I. I’m counting on more of your great help.

2. We took on the challenge of expanding housing opportunities.

The housing markets have been carrying our national economy for the past few years—and homeownership is at its highest level ever. But as community leaders, you know that many folks are being denied the American dream of decent housing, whether as renters or owners. To help you fix that problem, the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OFREALTORS® is launching the Housing Opportunity Program at its annual conference in November. The program, a year in the making, is designed to supply us with the tools we need to become aggressive advocates for viable housing opportunities in our communities (See “Edwards Report: Delivering at Fourth and Main,” October 2002").

3. We supported those most in need after 9/11.

Perhaps our finest hour came with the great work you did in late 2001 and early 2002 on the REALTORS® Housing Relief Fund. NAR was one of the first organizations to assist the families of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Through your efforts, we collected more than $8.5 million to help more than 1,300 families with their housing payments; every penny went to aiding the families.

Those are just a few of the great things we’ve shown we can accomplish when we act as one. Together, they make me very proud to have served as your 2002 president.

Martin Edwards Jr., CCIM, CIPS, was 2002 president of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

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