Next Capitol Hill Visits: May 2019
Save the Date! The next Capitol Hill Visits will be held in conjunction with the National Association of REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo May 13-18, 2019.
CCIM Hospitality Reception
More details will be provided closer to the date of the event.
Reimbursement for CCIM Chapters
If you are sending a representative to attend the Capitol Hill Visits, your chapter may be reimbursed up to $1,020 total.
To receive this reimbursement:
- Download and complete a CCIM Institute Expense report (XLSX).
- Email the completed report and the name(s) of your representative(s) to email@example.com by Tuesday, May 21, 2019.
Capitol Hill Visits Background
In August 2014, CCIM Institute's executive leadership team voted to align the organization's Capitol Hill Visit strategy with the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Realtor Party Convention, which is held annually in Washington, D.C.
In the past CCIM has collaborated with the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) for a one-day Capitol Hill Visit in April that drew an average of 250 to 300 IREM members and 20 to 30 CCIM members. Members of both organizations would meet with key Congressional legislators and/or their staff to discuss current legislative issues affecting commercial real estate. CCIM's decision to collaborate with NAR" going forward presents a unique opportunity for CCIM and NAR" members to unite with a larger lobbying voice on behalf of the commercial real estate industry. It will also serve as an effective way to educate Realtors® who are not well versed in commercial legislative issues.
Key Objectives of CCIM's Current Hill Visit Strategy
Increased power in numbers. A primary reason for aligning with NAR" for Hill Visits is the increased power in numbers associated with NAR's Realtor Party Convention. A few thousand REALTORS® attend NAR's meetings in Washington, D.C. and use this opportunity to meet with their state Congressional leaders to discuss critical issues that are impacting the real estate industry.
More emphasis on commercial legislative issues. While NAR has traditionally focused on issues that impact residential Realtors®, it has started to incorporate more commercial issues in the annual Hill Visit talking points in recent years. In 2014, two of the three key talking points NAR took to the Hill were commercial real estate related issues. These talking points communicated the importance of preserving real estate-related tax policies and reforming the secondary mortgage to provide certainty in the U.S. housing market. Each year the topics are chosen based on importance and timeliness. Your participation at the local and state REALTOR® association level can help to highlight commercial issues.
Increased commercial staff support. NAR now has two government affairs staff dedicated to commercial issues. In summer 2014, NAR hired a new staff member dedicated to monitoring and reporting on regulatory commercial issues in addition to the existing commercial legislative staff member. This demonstration of NAR's commitment to supporting commercial real estate issues makes this the ideal time for CCIM to align with the organization's Hill Visits.
Changes in the Hill Visit Process
In the past, IREM and CCIM staff played a major role in coordinating the Hill Visit, facilitating meetings with Congressional leaders, and providing a half-day orientation session prior to the single day on the Hill. NAR also provides a Hill Visit briefing on the Wednesday morning of the conference. States also have dedicated briefings provided by NAR staff. Hill Visit materials are also provided on the website and in print to FPCs.
Collaboration with NAR will require much more coordination among CCIM's staff, chapter leaders, and members. Hill Visits are scheduled through NAR's state real estate associations and occur over several days during the REALTOR® Party Convention (not a single day as has been done with IREM in the past). Therefore, CCIMs must strengthen and/or establish relationships with state REALTOR® associations to ensure they are able to participate in the process.
The Role of Federal Political Coordinators
A Federal Political Coordinator (FPC) serves as a liaison between NAR and members of Congress. Every year NAR designates 535 REALTORS® as FPCs to be individually assigned to the 435 members of the House of Representatives and 100 members of the Senate. Currently, 23 of the 535 FPCs hold the CCIM designation. Applying the ratio of commercial practitioners who are also Realtors, which is estimated to be about 10 percent of the total membership, there should be approximately 50 to 60 CCIMs who are FPCs.
How does one become an FPC? FPCs are recommended by their state President and appointed by the NAR President, to serve a two-year term that runs concurrently with the Congressional cycle. Selected individuals are often chosen because they have relationships with legislators and/or live in the same district as the member of congress.
Why is it so important for more CCIMs to be selected as FPCs? One role of the FPCs is to coordinate the meetings with their Congressional legislators and serve as the point person for the discussions on the Hill. Although the FPC does not set the agenda of items to be discussed, that person is given a great deal of latitude to focus on issues that he or she feels are important.
The Importance of Realtors Political Action Committee (RPAC)
With approximately 1.3 million Realtors in the U.S., the REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) represents a significant number of people in each community. RPAC is a major political fundraiser at the local and national level. Legislators are keenly aware of this and will often go out of their way to recognize Realtors® when they come to Washington, D.C. Approximately 14 percent of CCIMs contribute to RPAC and nearly 100 are Major Contributors (defined as those donating $1,000 or more per year). It is important to know that there are strict federal laws regarding PAC contributions. For example, CCIM chapters cannot give funds directly to RPAC. However, it is strongly encouraged that CCIM chapters recognize their major contributors and work to increase both the number of contributors and the amount contributed. Increasing the number of CCIM contributions demonstrates to NAR and RPAC that the organization is seriously invested in furthering commercial legislative issues. Major contributors to RPAC are also strongly considered for FPC appointments.
Capitol Hill Visit Implementation for CCIM Chapters:
To help build awareness of this new process and ensure a smooth transition, CCIM Institute needs every chapter's help in the following ways:
Select a Legislative Affairs Contact
Each chapter should make sure it has a designated Legislative Affairs Contact (LAC). It may be beneficial if this person is a REALTOR®, rather than an Institute Affiliate, but it is not a requirement. The LAC should reach out to the FPC(s) in the chapter's geographical jurisdiction as a resource for commercial issues and express interest in participating in the Washington, D.C., Hill Visit meetings.
Identify Your Local and Regional Resources
Identify any CCIMs on your state REALTOR® association board of directors, active members on the commercial committee, and RPAC trustees and seek out their assistance. Ascertain which CCIMs or commercial practitioners have relationships with legislators and use these opportunities to open doors for your members. These are the best relationships to have because there is an existing level of trust.
Work with Your REALTOR® Associations to Determine when the Hill Visits will Occur
It is important that CCIM members create a sense of trust and respect for all involved. The REALTOR® Association will determine the delegation that will attend the Hill Visits. If you want to participate, you must focus on how to build these and sustain your relationship with the REALTOR association. Building these relationships will benefit both CCIM and NAR.
What if I am unable to attend the Hill Visit?
It is important to remember that every single legislator also has one or more local offices in his or her district and/or state. If it is not possible for your chapter to meet in Washington, D.C., in May, consider scheduling a one-on-one meeting in the district where a legislator may be able to give you his or her undivided attention.
If you have any questions, please contact Elizabeth Vincent, Government Affairs Liaison, at CCIM at firstname.lastname@example.org.