United we stand
We did in Raleigh, can again at DNC
I was only a couple of miles outside of Raleigh when my phone rang. It was association staffer Tara Howie.
“Our bus has broken down,” Tara said. “Would you be willing to come back to help take members home?”
“Sure,” I said, and turned around.
That day, a busload of 30 Realtors® and staff from our association and the Central Carolina association had left home at the crack of dawn to meet with state senators and representatives at the General Assembly. Perhaps it was because the experience had been so positive that the 30 Realtors® on the bus were in good spirits when I and others arrived in our cars to take everyone home.
The day had been memorable. Not only did we learn about issues — such as rental property registration, copper theft and residential design standards — we visited with several members of the North Carolina Association of Realtors® (NCAR) Executive Committee — President Lou Baldwin, President-Elect Patrice Willetts and Executive Vice President Andrea Bushnell. We also met candidate for 2014 NCAR president, Tomp Litchfield.
Elected officials galore
Then, we met with lots of elected officials about issues of concern to us as Realtors®. Among those who visited with us were Reps. Rodney Moore, Becky Carney and Bill Brawley; Speaker of the House Thom Tillis and Senator Bob Rucho. Then we walked around the House and Senate and visited with Reps. Ric Killian, Kelly Alexander, Ruth Samuelson and Larry Pittman, as well as Sens. Malcolm Graham and Fletcher Hartsell.
Over a boxed lunch, we listened to interesting remarks from our guest, N.C. Real Estate Commission attorney Adam Stallings.
All of it was a great experience. I’ve attended Legislative Day many times and don’t remember talking to so many elected officials. For those new to the trip — which included many in our Leadership Development Program Class (LDP) — Realtors® could see how our presence affected the legislators. They can see we’re organized and pay attention. “This has been eye opening,” noted Joel Bennett, LDP chair.
Later that day, as I headed to the stranded bus, I was glad it was safely off the road. For some reason, the bus’s door wouldn’t close; thus, the bus wouldn’t run. No one complained, and we quickly got everyone into cars and headed down the highway. Staff members stayed with the “ship,” and were the last to return, making sure members were taken care of. We all appreciated Tara’s quick thinking in rounding up the drivers to get members home.
Lemons to lemonade
I only knew one person who rode with me. We were from all over the region — Rock Hill, Mooresville, Mt. Pleasant, Locust, etc. — and got to know each other on the way home. It was a classic case of how good things can come out of unfortunate circumstances.
I was proud of our Realtors® that day. We had come together in Raleigh to discuss issues that we all share across the state. Then, our local contingent came together to make sure we all got back home safe and sound.
I have said it before, but it bears repeating: We are stronger as a united group. Our industry is under attack from outside sources more than ever before. We must continue to protect homeownership and our industry, clients and communities.
Charlotte on stage; do your part
With more than 15,000 media expected for the Democratic National Convention, don’t be surprised if a camera crew rolls down your street as part of a story on the local housing market. Such stories will help paint a picture of Charlotte that goes ’round the world. Our Realtor® billboards that promote our profession and homeownership will help send the media a message — but so can you.
Spruce up your listings. Straighten your signs. Maybe even volunteer to help with the convention-related activities (see the Cover Story). You don’t have to be a Democrat — just someone who cares about the Charlotte region.
With all eyes on us, let’s stand together — just as we did in Raleigh. Let’s show the world we’re proud of the place we call home.