By Maren Brisson-Kuester, Association/CarolinaMLS President
As election season hits high gear, the Association is right in the middle of it. Board elections, the Candidate Fish Fry and our campaign for the Realtors® Political Action Committee (RPAC) are important to our Association and industry.
Remember to vote for officers and board members of the Association and CarolinaMLS. Voting opened at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday Sept. 7, 2016, and runs through 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016. You can vote by visiting this page and clicking on the “Cast Your Vote” button. Please note that you have to be logged into CarolinaRealtors.com to access the voting page. If you’re redirected to the login page, simple log in and you will be taken straight to the voting page.
The annual Candidate Fish Fry has a new location this year at Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, 4150 Yancey Road in Charlotte. On Thursday, Sept. 29, we’ll enjoy an Oktoberfest theme and meet local and state political candidates from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The candidates will be there to answer your questions and share their views on issues.
RPAC, meanwhile, is in the last few months of our annual campaign, and I’m happy to report that as of Sept. 1, we only need to raise about $21,000 to make our goal. That’s a great place to be, and I hope you can help put us over the top.
Big August Event
For the second straight year, we had great summer RPAC fundraiser; this year it has given us the big oomph to close in on our goal.
We invited top producers, brokers-in-charge, past and current RPAC contributors and a handful of others to the after-work event, held Aug. 17 at the rooftop bar at Le Méridien hotel. It was a great night for our Association. We raised more than $60,000 — more than half of our annual goal.
The figure is more than twice what we brought in last year from the similar event, when we raised about $28,000. We have now met $96,417 of our $117,220 goal for 2016, as of Sept. 1.
I am proud we’ve made great progress with RPAC and paying our fair share in Charlotte for this important work.
We have the rest of 2016 to bring in the remaining $20,803 – and I know we can do it. When we do, it will be an RPAC record for our Association. Last year we set the record ($105,139) but still fell short of our goal — which is the largest of any association in the state because we have biggest membership.
So why is RPAC so important? Just ask any of the 195 members who’ve given so far. They will tell you that it helps give us the ear of elected and appointed government officials. Specifically, RPAC funds help elect candidates on the local, state and federal levels who are friendly, or at least open, to our industry concerns.
Why Give to RPAC?
Valerie Mitchener, owner/broker of HM Properties, became a Golden R last year ($5,000 contributor) and has repeated this year. At our August event, she shared impromptu with everyone that the state legislature’s attempt to take a bigger chunk of sales tax money from Mecklenburg County and re-distribute it to other sections of the state was a trigger for her. She rightly noted a re-distribution like that would harm Charlotte as an economic engine for the state.
RPAC also comes into play directly with our real estate careers. For years, the state legislature has been eyeing our industry to tax our services as Realtors®. Thanks to RPAC and lobbying efforts, we’ve been able to turn that back, but the issue is expected to come up again. Just as eliminating the mortgage interest deduction is expected to roll around again on the federal level.
As busy brokers, we can’t be at local government meetings, the state legislature or Congress very often to voice our views. RPAC is how we do it. Given the critical issues our industry and region deal with, it’s an excellent investment. If you haven’t already given, you may go to this page on NC REALTORS® and make your 2016 contribution. You’ll need your NRDS number, which you can look up here. Thank you!