The Power Broker Roundtable is brought to you by the National Association of REALTORS® and Rei Mesa, NAR’s Special Liaison for Large Firm Relations. Watch for this column each month, where we address broker issues, concerns and milestones.
Rei Mesa, Special Liaison for Large Firm Relations, NAR, and President/CEO, Prudential Florida Real Estate Services
Moe Veissi, NAR President, President, Veissi & Associates, REALTORS®
Gerardo “Jerry” Ascensio, President, NAHREP; CEO, San Fernando Realty
Dale Stinton, NAR CEO
Charlie Young, President/CEO, ERA Real Estate
Ron Croushore, President, Prudential Preferred Realty, Pittsburgh, Penn.
Rei Mesa: President Ronald Reagan once said, “We in government should learn to look at our country with the eyes of the entrepreneur, seeing possibilities where others see only problems.” Such was the theme, the message, and the great inspiration of NAR’s Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo, and Rally to Protect the American Dream. Nearly 15,000 REALTORS® from all over the country came together on the grounds of the Washington Monument in May and were joined by thousands more online to express unity. The Rally offered the rare opportunity for REALTORS®, members of Congress and federal regulators to focus together on today’s important real estate issues. It underscored our commitment and sent us home with the clear affirmation that we can indeed make a difference—not simply in terms of a real estate recovery, but in leading the way back to economic growth for our nation. So today, we’ve invited a few of the industry veterans who provided both incentive and passion. President Moe, what did you think?
Moe Veissi: Okay, so I’m NAR president, and a lot of folks would expect me to make positive comments. But I’m here to tell you I was blown away by the breadth and passion of this Rally—not just for those of us who were in on the planning, but for the members of Congress and so many others who listened and responded with a personal promise to help keep the American Dream alive for everyone who aspires to homeownership. Additionally, I was so happy to see the thousands of Rally attendees come back to the Trade Expo, making it one of the most successful networking events in NAR history. The stories we heard were the stories of all of us—of so many American families. Nobody said it better than Jerry Ascensio, who told the eloquent story of his own immigrant family experience. You said it so very beautifully, Jerry. “Nobody comes to America to be a tenant.”
Jerry Ascensio: That’s so true, Moe. Immigrants, as much or more than any other group of Americans, aspire to own their own homes—to stop paying rent and put down roots in a home of their own to make a better life for their families. In my estimation, REALTORS® are the architects, and the prime movers, of this dream. In coming together, as we did in Washington, we were truly writing history—delivering a unified message that homeownership matters, and that every American who can responsibly do so should have the opportunity to be a part of it.
Charlie Young: I agree wholeheartedly. Being part of this historic gathering was truly an amazing experience. It was inspiring on every level, and our presence in Washington created new awareness of the issues facing housing today—and made it clear how critical it is that we address those issues in a timely manner in order to keep the dream alive and well.
Dale Stinton: The bonus for me was that we delivered the message to current and future leaders in such a tangible and visual way. REALTORS® are the leading advocates for homeownership and real estate issues. They understand that everyone should have the opportunity to pursue their American Dream—and we left no doubt that NAR members will fight against any obstacle that makes it more difficult for people to buy, own and invest in real estate.
RM: What an amazing sense of pride we felt to be a member of this REALTOR® party.
Ron Croushore: Absolutely. I came away with feelings of awe and camaraderie, and a magnified awareness of how critical it is to communicate the issues to our legislators. For some, it came as a wake-up call that many legislators have not yet formulated positions on some of these most important issues—and the Rally underlined how important it is to be aggressive in bringing our concerns to their attention. We can’t afford to simply be REALTORS® who do our jobs in a vacuum. This is an undertaking that takes time, effort and money—the very reason I’ve been so heavily involved in RPAC fundraising for so long—and will continue to be. We speak with a voice more than one million strong. It’s an honor as well as a duty.
MV: If there’s one thing the Rally demonstrated, it’s that the power of our collective REALTOR® voices is strong. NAR’s one million members also represent 75 million homeowners, and we all care about the future of homeownership in this country. As leading advocates for homeownership and real estate issues, REALTORS® want our country’s current and future leaders to understand the vital role that real estate plays in both the long- and short-term health of this nation. We must make housing and real estate issues top priorities on the nation’s public policy agenda, because housing and homeownership issues affect all Americans. I think the Rally was a significant event that helped us truly demonstrate that REALTORS® are the voice for real estate, and we will make our voices heard to make sure the American Dream of homeownership is protected.