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The first-ever virtual California Association of REALTORS® Legislative Day kicked off on April 27 with welcome remarks from 2021 President Dave Walsh, 2021 President-elect Otto Catrina and other C.A.R. officials who underlined the urgency of increasing the state’s housing supply and addressing barriers to homeownership.

“Closing the homeownership gap is essential to closing the generational wealth gap in our country,” said Walsh.

California Governor Gavin Newsom addressed REALTORS® and lamented that the twin crises of housing affordability and homelessness have dominated state’s political conversations for decades, even before the pandemic. While the state has made great strides with Projects Roomkey and Homekey, Newsom said there is still a lot more to do.

“At the end of the day, the fundamental truth is we need to simply build more housing at all income levels,” said Newsom.

Newsom indicated this can only be done by a combination of subsidies, political will, and a dose of accountability across the spectrum. “I consider the REALTORS® key partners in this work.”

The Governor thanked REALTORS® for their partnership and said he looked forward to pushing the pandemic behind so the state could reset its key priorities to solve the housing and homeless crises.

There were also greetings from California’s Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (CA Senate District 39), Assemblywoman Blanca E. Rubio (CA Assembly District 48) and California State Senate minority leader Scott Wilk (CA Senate District 21), who pledged their commitment to housing for all.

“The pandemic has now intensified the need for housing affordability, access and opportunity,” said Atkins.

Rubio related her personal story as an immigrant and said it has given her a genuine understanding of the daily struggles and barriers immigrants and working families face. She pledged support for immigrant families, small businesses and their workers.

Wilk underlined the need to make California a safe and affordable place to call home for generations to come. He said he worries his own children cannot afford to live in California. “This is a very real problem that affects every single California family… REALTORS® can make a difference in meeting the housing challenge.”

Legislative Day gave members an opportunity to meet virtually with their legislators and discussed C.A.R. hot issues (see article in Government Affairs). Later C.A.R. CEO Joel Singer interviewed political columnist Dan Walters. Walters analyzed Governor Newsom’s handling of the pandemic and shared his own views on state politics and the future of California’s housing situation and economy.

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