We are in the midst of early voting for the May 22, 2018, Primary. Many of you may have decided upon you candidates, but polling shows that many Georgians are still undecided. I have had several recent conversations with members on the topic of gubernatorial candidates and how each differentiates themselves from the other. Here is a good link to an overview of the candidates from WABE’s Political Breakfast. It contains a brief bio on each candidate and a short interview.
Additionally, we have a comprehensive listing of all state-level candidates supported by RPAC this election cycle.
The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) launched a national call for action (CFA) on October 18th targeting the United States House of Representatives and Senate and needs your help to drive messages to Capitol Hill!
TAKE ACTION NOW!
H.R. 2874 reauthorizes the NFIP and makes a number of critical improvements to the NFIP including increased funds for mitigation activities, caps on overall premium increases, improved claim and mapping processes, as well as removing hurdles for more private market participation in the flood insurance market. Reauthorization of the NFIP will help over 5 million homeowners in 22,000 communities around the country, so it is critical Congress acts now.
If Congress fails to take action to reauthorize the NFIP, it will expire by September 30, 2017.
Take Action Now
Key Talking Points
HR 2874 Bill Summary on Congress.gov
NAR Section-By-Section Analysis of HR 2874
NAR Flood Insurance Portal
On July 15, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed House Resolution 3700, the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016. The bill received unanimous passage by the U.S. House months ago but languished in the U.S. Senate. In mid June, the National Association of REALTORS® launched a Call-for-Action (CFA) to spur movement in the Senate.
Nearly 140,000 REALTORS® from across the nation contacted their Senators, encouraging them to get to work for future homebuyers by passing H.R. 3700. Georgia’s grassroots resulted in almost 4,000 members participating in the CFA and we applaud the efforts of our members which had a successful impact on moving this legislation forward. Additionally, GAR commends the leadership of REALTOR® Champion, Senator Johnny Isakson, who became a co-sponsor of the bill and fought strongly for its passage.
House Resolution 3700 will implement much needed reforms to the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) condo loan program, easing access to lending and expand market entry to consumers that cannot afford a single-family residence. REALTOR® related components of the legislation include:
Reducing the FHA condo owner occupancy ratio to 35%.
Directing the FHA to streamline the condo re-certification process.
Provide more flexibility for mixed use buildings.
Mirror the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) rules regarding private transfer fees for FHA condo lending.
Provide permanent authority for direct endorsement for approved lenders to approve Rural Housing Service (RHS) loans.
Condominiums account for about nine percent of the housing inventory, yet make up only 4.1 percent of the FHA’s portfolio. The Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act provides common-sense reform to expand housing options and saves taxpayers money through the promotion of more efficient agency practices. The CFA united the REALTOR® voice and together, passed measures that will support the real estate industry and the business of our members.
On July 26, Georgia held hotly contested Primary Runoff elections around the state. The Georgia REALTORS® performed Independent Expenditures (IE) for two of the races, which included Chairman of the Cobb County Commissioners and State Representative for House District 6. Independent Expenditures are campaign resources available to state and local associations from NAR, useful in performing polling, direct mailers, robocalls, get-out-the-vote calls, online advertising and other campaign services.
The Atlanta REALTORS® Association (ARA) performed an IE to support Tim Lee for Cobb County Chairman. Lee faced two-time challenger, retired Marine Colonel Mike Boyce. The Cobb Chamber of Commerce, the Council for Quality Growth and other community and business organizations united with the REALTORS® to rally behind Lee. Ultimately, these campaign efforts proved unsuccessful and Tim Lee conceded defeat to Mike Boyce. Boyce was successful in securing 64% of the vote and faces no Democratic opposition in the November General Election.
Additionally, the Carpet Capital Board of REALTORS® performed an IE for District 6 Representative Tom Dickson. Tom has been a friend to the REALTORS® since 2005 and a strong supporter of private property rights. In the end, challenger Jason Ridley, proved victorious in the runoff garnering 54% of the votes.
The primary for the Congressional District 3 race between State Senator Mike Crane and West Point Mayor Drew Ferguson, proved victorious for Ferguson, with a 54 to 46 percent margin. Ferguson will face Democratic opponent, Angela Pendley, in the November General Election.
October 11 is the deadline for Georgians to register to vote in order to be eligible to cast their ballot in the November election. Registering is simple and can often be completed online through the Georgia Secretary of State’s website. As advocates for the REALTOR® Party, we encourage all of our members to register and to support REALTOR® champions in the upcoming election.
The Georgia REALTORS® are proud and fortunate to welcome Jeff Ledford as the new Director of Governmental Affairs. Jeff brings with him twenty-three years of experience in state government, having formerly served as Georgia’s Real Estate Commissioner from 2007-2011, as an analyst for the Georgia Ethics Commission, and most recently, as Director of State Initiatives for the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
The Director of Governmental Affairs position became available, when predecessor John Barbour, accepted an offer to lobby for the Independent Insurance Agents of Georgia. John has been a valued staff member of GAR and instrumental part of the Governmental Affairs Team for almost nine years. GAR is grateful for the contribution he has made to the Association during his tenure, ensuring that the Georgia REALTORS® are the most powerful force at the State Capitol.
We are excited to begin a new chapter under Jeff’s leadership, confident that he has the professional experience and keen insight to continue navigating GAR’s successful political influence.
Jeff is a graduate of Georgia State University, where he studied Political Science. He and his wife Lisa reside with their family in Kennesaw. Jeff assumed the position of Director of Governmental Affairs on August 1 and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join us in welcoming Jeff to the Georgia REALTOR® family!
In the 2016 May primaries, the Georgia REALTORS® performed Independent Expenditures for fourteen candidates, proving highly effective for thirteen of the state races. An Independent Expenditure (IE) is a campaign resource available to state and local associations from NAR. IEs serve as an added tool to provide campaign services in the form of polling, direct mailers, robocalls, get-out-the-vote calls, online advertising and other promotional efforts. These campaign tactics improve name recognition and advocacy communication in an election for a particular candidate, at zero cost to the individual that is being supported. As the name suggest, IEs must be conducted in total separation from the candidate, with absolutely no contact or coordination with them or associates of their campaign.
GAR successfully engaged in bipartisan support of REALTOR® Champions for races in both the State House and Senate. With committee approval, we were able to assist members of the General Assembly that have proven to be REALTOR® Champions, which included:
These legislators have stepped up to demonstrate they are staunch defenders of private property rights and free enterprise when it comes to issues of interest to GAR at the Capitol. Of the fourteen candidates, twelve won their primaries and one is in a run-off on July 26. We were proud to see these candidates secure their nomination and advance on to the General Election in November. Local boards that are interested in conducting an IE for a future local or state race are encouraged to contact GAR’s Governmental Affairs Department for more information.
The National Association of REALTORS® has issued a Call-for-Action to urge the U.S. Senate to take up and pass House Resolution 3700, the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016. H.R. 3700 received unanimous passage by the U.S. House of Representatives and was an official talking point during NAR’s Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C. this past May.
House Resolution 3700 seeks to implement much needed reforms to the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) condo loan program that would ease access to lending and expand market entry to consumers that cannot afford a single-family residence. Prospective buyers of condos are typically first-time homebuyers, retirees and lower-income earners.
Condominiums account for about nine percent of the housing inventory, yet make up only 4.1 percent of the FHA’s portfolio. FHA approved condo loans require that commercial space is limited to 25 percent (which includes parking garages) and that no less than 50 percent of condo units are owner occupied. These stringent parameters often limit an eligible buyer’s selection of properties. Additional provisions of the bill would authorize the Rural Housing Service (RHS) use of local endorsement lenders to approve RHS loans. Such authorization would expedite the approval process and alleviate agency burdens. Over the course of five years, the Congressional Budget Office projects that H.R. 3700 will reduce government spending by $311 million. The Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act provides common-sense reform to expand housing options and saves taxpayers money through the promotion of more efficient agency practices.
GAR encourages all of our members who have not yet taken action to send the message to our Senators that we want H.R 3700 to be passed. Submitting your CFA will help unite the REALTOR® voice and push GAR closer to our 20 percent (4,626 members) goal. To view your local board’s participation rate, click here. This CFA will remain active until July 18. We will continue to monitor and update members on the progress of this important piece of legislation that aims to strengthen the real estate industry and federal housing programs. For more information, view the links below.