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More than 800 people from Missouri and three neighboring states took part in a Rally for Homeownership recently in Independence, Mo. to send a message to their local, state and federal lawmakers that homeownership is critical to a strong and prosperous nation and vitally important to America’s families.

Speakers at the rally included U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), Independence Mayor Don Reimal, Kansas Secretary of Revenue Nick Jordan, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder, Johnson County Commissioner Dave Lindstrom, Greater Kansas City Home Builders Association President Kevin Stucker, and Tom Woods, third vice chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Blue Springs, Mo. KSHB-TV anchor Elizabeth Alex served as the master of ceremonies.

“Homeownership lifts you up in a way that few things can,” said Rep. Cleaver. “That’s why we’ve got to protect the mortgage interest deduction from now until the end of time.”

“We will not have a fully growing economy until our housing market is back where it was before the downturn,” added Lieutenant Governor Kinder.

The rally took place at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum and was sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City and NAHB.

The home builder groups joined with consumer advocates, civil rights groups, REALTORS®, local Chambers of Commerce, politicians, church groups and others to highlight the importance of homeownership.

“Homeownership is a major component of quality of life,” said Johnson County Commissioner Lindstrom. “It is often taken for granted. Owning our own home has always been a part of the American Dream. We believe that homeownership is intertwined with our personal well-being.”

Rally participants represented a broad range of interests including homeowners, small business owners, civil rights organizations, church groups, home builders and real estate agents, consumers, business leaders, politicians, merchants and manufacturers, bankers, students and many others.

When the Housing Act of 1949 was enacted more than half a century ago, President Truman set a goal of providing a decent home and suitable living environment for every American family. Upon signing this landmark legislation, Truman said: “These policies are thoroughly consistent with American ideals and traditions. They recognize and preserve local responsibility, and the primary role of private enterprise, in meeting the nation’s housing needs. But they also recognize clearly the necessity for appropriate federal aid to supplement the resources of communities and private enterprise.”

“President Truman’s words ring just as true today as they did in 1949,” said NAHB Third Vice Chairman Woods. “We must ensure that homeownership remains an important national priority.”

For more information, visit www.Nahb.org.