Advocating for Commercial Realtors
Jim Helsel, CCIM, SIOR, CPM, a commercial Realtor from Camp
Hill, Pa., wants CCIMs to understand why the Realtors
Political Action Committee and the Realtor Party matter to their businesses.
“While CCIMs are earning a living in today’s challenging commercial real estate
market, RPAC and the Realtor Party are covering our backs,” says Helsel, who is
also the National Association of Realtors 2013 Liaison to Commercial and Business
Specialties. “Sometimes commercial members have the misconception that Realtor
Party and RPAC only work on behalf of residential practitioners. That’s just
not true,” he says.
“Actually, more than half of the lobbying and
policy work NAR does for its members benefits commercial practitioners,” adds Cindy
Chandler, CCIM, CRE, a Realtor in Charlotte, N.C., who serves as 2013 chair of
NAR’s Legislation and Regulatory Advisory Board.
Since 1969, RPAC has promoted the
election of pro-Realtor candidates across the United States. The money to
accomplish this comes from voluntary contributions made by Realtors.
The Realtor Party was launched in August
2011. Cathy Whatley, NAR’s 2003 president
from Jacksonville, Fla., who chaired the advisory group that proposed the
initiative, stressed that RPAC and the Realtor Party are not mutually
exclusive.“They work in tandem,” she explained just before NAR’s Board of
Directors approved the plan in May 2011. “We use RPAC dollars to make direct
contributions to candidates who champion our causes on Capitol Hill.”
The party’s initiatives include an extensive
menu of advocacy, community outreach, and RPAC fundraising tools for state and
local Realtor associations –- including for commercial boards and structures.
Among the resources that commercial Realtors find especially useful are the
smart growth grants and various land use advocacy tools.
the party supports include protecting depreciation schedules and favorable
capital gains laws, advancing policies to assist holders of underwater
commercial mortgages and to help credit unions get into commercial finance, and
extending the national flood insurance program.
“Advancing policies for a healthy housing
market also benefits the commercial market,” Chandler says. “You can’t develop
a shopping center if there are no houses and if there are no jobs.” Advocating
for the mortgage interest deduction, affordable insurance, accessible financing,
and tax incentives for real estate investment benefits all Realtors, she adds.
“So many CCIMs are active in local politics because they need to
influence zoning policies and ordinances in order to pave the way for
commercial development and leasing,” Chandler explains. “They ‘get’ that local angle. It’s our
challenge at the national level to help commercial Realtors understand the
importance of investing in RPAC to advance federal policies that help our
“I’m really hoping that our commercial boards
will take a look at how they could incorporate RPAC fundraising grants and
tools into their 2013 political strategic plans,” Chandler adds.
Most importantly, “each and every Realtor –- residential
and commercial, alike –- should make an investment in RPAC this year,” Helsel says.
“It’s the best investment you'll ever make in your business and yourself.”
Learn more about RPAC and
the Realtor Party at