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The 2021 SILVAR Leadership Academy opened strong last week, with U.S. Representative Anna Eshoo addressing 40 participants and guests. SILVAR President Joanne Fraser delivered the opening remarks and SILVAR Board Director Suzanne Yost, chair of the Leadership Academy steering committee, led the program.

In her talk to members, Eshoo said in the past year the Bay Area housing market has remained strong, but the shortage of supply and rising prices have deeply impacted housing affordability, changing the composition and identity of our local communities and forcing many people to leave the area in search of more affordable places to live. She fears if nothing is done, the state will be viewed as a place where only the wealthiest can live.

Eshoo said solutions to the severe housing affordability problem can only come from a partnership of federal, state, and local governments working in cooperation with non-profits and the private sector. Congress plays an important role in this partnership by providing federal funding to build new housing and protect the existing supply of affordable housing, and through incentives in the tax code and programs that strengthen affordable housing.

As an advocate of housing, Eshoo said she has been able to pass 50 bills under four presidents due to her leadership philosophy of building coalitions and generating consensus to support legislation. She stressed the importance of REALTOR® advocacy, which she said has always supported her and shaped her legislative work. She values input from REALTORS® and noted of all groups that come to D.C., REALTORS® are the best prepared.

“The meetings are rich for me. Your advocacy informs my work,” said Eshoo.

The Congresswoman thanked SILVAR members and noted she is deeply grateful for REALTORS®’ support. “Thank you for all your magnificent support all these years. Our relationship has always been a great source of pride for me. You really mean a great deal to me.”

An impressive lineup of speakers followed Eshoo. They included Sydney Barron, NAR Director of Governmental Advocacy; Sanjay Wagle, C.A.R. Senior VP for Governmental Affairs and Chief Lobbyist; John Scribner, C.A.R. Manager of Public Policy; Matthew Gelfand, attorney for Californians for Homeownership; 2008 SILVAR President Leannah Hunt; and SILVAR Government Affairs Director Ryan Carrigan.

The NAR and C.A.R. senior staff presented an overview of the structure of REALTOR® advocacy and explained each of their roles in lobbying at the federal and state level. TBarron said REALTORS® are a powerful force and NAR is seen as a valuable resource in shaping government policy.

“Our power and our strength is our members,” said Wagle. He said Red Alerts are especially powerful and get the attention of legislators.

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REALTORS® discuss issues with Congresswoman Jackie Speier.

 

The leadership of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) joined more than 9,000 REALTORS® and guests from across the country in the nation’s capital this week for the 2018 National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo to advance policy initiatives that strengthen the ability of Americans to buy, invest, own and sell real estate.

On their agendas this year were visits with members of Congress, regulatory agency officials and top industry leaders; attending some of the nearly 100 available conference sessions on topics ranging from policy to technology; and focusing on the yearlong commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act.

REALTORS® are advocating support for several important legislative initiatives, including strong net neutrality protections to ensure the internet is open and competitive for consumers and businesses; renewing and strengthening the long-term viability of the National Flood Insurance Program; indexing homeownership tax incentives for future inflation and permanently extending the tax exclusion on mortgage debt forgiveness; and adopting sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in the Fair Housing Act.

NAR is also urging Congress to adopt sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in the Fair Housing Act. As members of NAR, REALTORS® subscribe to its strict Code of Ethics, which includes a commitment to provide equal professional services regardless of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, national origin, and as of 2009, sexual orientation, and since 2014, gender identity.

SILVAR leadership met with U.S. Representatives Anna Eshoo, who represents California’s 18th Congressional District, Jackie Speier, who represents the state’s 14th Congressional District and Ro Khanna, who represents District 17. Representing SILVAR at the Hill meetings were SILVAR President Bill Moody, President-elect Alan Barbic, NAR Directors Leannah Hunt and Jim Hamilton, Federal Political Coordinator of Congresswoman Eshoo Carole Feldstein, Executive Officer Paul Cardus and Government Affairs Director Ryan Carrigan. Also at the meetings was Board Director Joanne Fraser.
 

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