I’m not one to get too excited for rallies. I’ll don a rally cap at a ball game from time to time, but political rallies have never been my thing. I’m a political junkie and politics is a big part of my job, so I see the value and I recognize the impact, but I’m just not a true believer. They always seemed a little goofy – a little too “rah-rah” for my taste.
However, the National Association of REALTORS® Rally to Protect the American Dream on May 17th was not one of those rallies. I showed up a skeptic but I left impressed.
There I was, front and center. About 50 feet from the stage, the Washington Monument directly behind it and the White House right behind us. Amidst all of that: 15,000 blue t-shirts emblazoned with the REALTOR® “R” logo. NAR notes this was the largest gathering of REALTORS® ever recorded.
The location and numbers were impressive. So were the logistics organized by NAR. Getting 15,000 non-local people into and out of a location safely, timely and effectively shouldn’t be overlooked. The staff and volunteers did a phenomenal job planning and executing.
But again, that alone isn’t going to get me excited about a rally.
So what did? I don’t really know. It’s the aggregate of everything involved.
The excitement of the week. Nearly everyone at The Monument in their blue t-shirt had been on Capitol Hill in a suit the day before. All of us meeting with our Members of Congress and sharing our viewpoints on some issues critical to our industry. (Read more on those Hill visits here.) We met with our Representatives and Senators and told them our stories, made our points and asked for their support. It is a personal and effective way to get things done in Washington. But now, we were putting an emphatic exclamation point on the end of those visits with this rally. Each member of Congress saw that the 20 or so REALTORS® that were in their office yesterday are part of the 15,000 energized voices they’re hearing coming from the National Mall.
The message. During the course of the rally, we heard from some great speakers including Georgia Senator (and REALTOR®) Johnny Isakson, Congressman Steny Hoyer, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun and several more. We heard from REALTORS®, association leaders, immigrants, minority leaders, elected officials and more. Each of them articulated it a different way, but their message was clear – homeownership matters.
The impact. Helicopters, TV cameras & reporters were all on site. Twitter was blowing up with people who were participating in the rally or people who were hearing about it. Later, news articles were popping up all over the place – and in the right places right there in The Beltway. For a city that has thousands of rallies and demonstrations each year, Washington took notice of us. Our message was delivered and in the days after we left we have already seen movement on some of the issues we were talking about.
RPAC. As a staff member tasked with promoting RPAC to the membership, it was exciting to see so much enthusiasm from REALTORS® from all 50 states for RPAC. The crowd was alive, it was energetic and it was passionate. RPAC was like a rock-star that day and the RPAC Pig was in hog-heaven.
I’m being honest when I say this. I was blown away at how drastically my expectations were exceeded. The Rally to Protect Homeownership met all of the objectives NAR aimed at and more. The influence of REALTORS® and RPAC was apparent that day. I left proud and feeling very fortunate to be on staff at MIBOR and to be able to represent such an important and influential group of professionals.
Political Affairs Liaison
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