Lakeland, FL May 22nd – More than 9,000 Realtors® gathered in Washington, D.C. last week, during the 2018 REALTOR® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo, to advocate for crucial real estate issues on behalf of current and future home and property owners across the country.
Lakeland REALTORS® leadership joined fellow Realtors® from throughout the U.S. to attend meetings and informational sessions, as well as meet with regulatory agency staff and lawmakers on Capitol Hill to discuss and advocate real estate issues affecting the real estate industry, and their businesses, communities and clients.
Members of the National Association of Realtors® focused on several significant issues affecting the industry during the legislative-focused meetings, including fair housing, flood insurance and internet neutrality.
“Realtors® are the leading advocates for homeownership and commercial real estate, which is why it is so critical that we connect with lawmakers and ensure they understand the issues facing the real estate industry and their constituents – of which many are home and property owners,” said Vreeland, Lakeland REALTORS® President. “Supporting home and property owners through smart legislation and regulatory initiatives is essential to advancing our nation’s economy, as well as our communities, so Realtors® are continuing the fight to keep Congress’s attention on the issues that impact real estate most.”
While in Washington, Vreeland met with U.S Congressman, Dennis Ross on Capitol Hill to discuss and advocate for public policy decisions affecting Americans’ ability to own, buy, rent and sell residential and commercial real estate.
When speaking with Ross, Vreeland and his fellow Realtors® acknowledged the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act and urged Congress to adopt sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes under the Fair Housing Act, bringing it in line with NAR’s strict Code of Ethics. Additionally, Realtors® advocated for strong net neutrality protections; fought to extend and reform the National Flood Insurance Program; and urged Congress to index homeownership deductions for future inflation and permanently extend the tax exclusion on mortgage debt forgiveness.
“Realtors® are proud to lead the way toward greater equality in housing opportunities and are committed to furthering policies that support sustainable and inclusive communities without discrimination,” said Vreeland.
During the meetings, Vreeland and other attendees also heard from industry experts and leaders, including Acting Director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection Mick Mulvaney, who spoke about the latest initiatives out of the CFPB, plans for improved efficiency of agency operations, as well as his perspectives on issues shaping the real estate industry.
In addition, attendees heard from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson, who discussed the nation’s commitment to fair housing during the conference’s General Session; U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri), who shared a personal story with attendees about the importance of safe and affordable housing for all
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Photo L-R: Deane Hart REALTOR®, Past President Richard Dempsey, Congressman Dennis Ross, Executive Vice President Barbara Barnes, 2018 President Kyle Vreeland, President-Elect Lisa Ruiz-Castanet