These past two days I have spent in the company of many of my fellow Pennsylvania Realtors, as we came together for a very informative Government Affairs Seminar.
You are possibly asking yourself, "What is meant by 'Government Affairs'?"
I set out to the seminar to answer the same question for myself.
What I learned was how as Realtor, I can work together with local and state government to help support measures that promote and enable homeownership throughout the Commonwealth, preserve real property rights, and create changes that support us and our ability to serve our clients.
We heard from several distinguished speakers:
Dr. Terry Madonna, the Director of Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College. He is the pollster for the Philadelphia Daily News, The Harrisburg Patriot News, and The Pittsburgh Tribune Review, and several TV stations throughout the region, as well as being the host of Pennsylvania Newsmakers, a weekly statewide news and commentary program. I will summarize his speech in a separate post.
Representative Todd A. Eachus (D - Luzerne), the Chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee and Representative Mike Turzai (R - Allegheny), the Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee spoke to us about their repspective parties current legislative agendas.
Gregory C. Fajt, former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, currently serving as Senior Advisor to the Governor spoke about the key points of Governor Rendell's budget proposal.
The sessions were all very informative, focussed, and well attended. Approximately 125 Pennsylvania Realtors were there, nearly half of whom were there for the first time (like myself).
I had the pleasure of sharing a room with fellow ActiveRain member Nick Vandekar, who is quite an interesting individual. He has been a U.S. Citizen for only about 2 years, and his son is a U.S. Marine. If you want to help support the troops, like his son, please read Support Our Troops: Servicemember Support Organizations.
There was a Legislative Reception in the evening, and about 50 members of the House and Senate attended, quiet a good turn-out, considering that they were not in session at the time, and many came to Harrisburg just for our event.
The following day we visited the offices of the representatives on our regions, and spoke with them about the positions that the PAR takes on several matters that are now before or will soon come before them for a vote. Representative Tom Killion gave us a personal tour of the House floor, and a first hand report of what happened in the tumultuous days after the November election which changed the balance of power, and ultimately led to the new Democratic majority actually electing a Republican Speaker of the House.
All in all, it was two days well spent. I look forward to becoming more involved at the local level. There is a lot that we as professionals can contribute at the local level. We can help local leaders understand issues that effect Realtors, but more importantly, we can serve as an advocate for the consumers we serve.