Homeowners may not realize this, but REALTORS® are not only helping them to buy and sell, they are also one of their biggest political advocates. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) appoints a Federal Political Coordinator, or FPC, to work with Members of Congress on a one on one basis. This means for every 435 members of the House of Representatives, there are 435 FPC’s appointed to work with them. Likewise, 100 Senators have 100 FPC’s assigned to them.
The FPC’s role is to educate Members of Congress about how the decisions they make in Washington positively or negatively affect the lives of homeowners. The FPC representatives give homeowners a voice and serve as an at-hand source of real estate knowledge for lawmakers.
The success of the program has resulted in a phenomenal expansion, with NAR encouraging every FPC to build a key supportive team to help them to execute grassroots awareness activities on behalf of homeowners.
Illinois, is a great example of a state that has rallied around the idea of expanding the support teams behind their FPCs. Illinois homeowners not only have 20 FPCs representing their interests with Congress, but also have an additional 130 FPC team members empowering their FPC’s efforts.
Mike Drews is both the President of Illinois REALTORS® and an FPC for Congressman Randy Hultgren. Drews gets to see the impact the FPCs have firsthand, “Through the collected efforts of the (FPC) team (homeowner’s) issues are consistently in front of the members of Congress.”
Sharon Gorrell, Housing Policy Advisor of the Illinois REALTORS® explains, “The teams are carefully developed to reflect the whole congressional district and the real estate industry as completely as possible.” Gorrell goes on to say that, “The combined expertise of the team allows the FPC to convey a truly comprehensive message to the representative in Washington.”
Gorrell says that the FPC program is in line with the philosophy of Illinois REALTORS® “Our leadership really believes in the importance of advocacy, and that means having the best possible system in place to deliver our information to legislators.”
She also says that because the FPC program wants to represent all homeowners equally, the Illinois REALTORS® are attempting to incorporate members of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) and the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) when building FPC teams. This collaboration ensures that the team members will reflect the multicultural breadth and specific needs of homeowners in each district.
Illinois REALTORS® have also replicated the FPC concept at the state level, assigning a local REALTOR® to each state legislator. And, taking a global view, Illinois REALTORS® have also just launched an innovative program called the Consulate General Liaison program which is based on the same FPC model, and connects foreign consulates in Chicago with the real estate industry in Illinois.