PRESIDENT'S CORNER: Let Our Voices Be Heard

Ron Garafalo | April 2019

Hello friends. This is the time of the year to let the voice and message of all of us to be heard. I have often said that what we do is one of the most important jobs in our country. We are responsible for working with our clients in what is most likely the largest sale or purchase in their lives. Achieving the “American Dream of Home-ownership” is possible because of what we do and what we have done for more than 100 years. That is something all of us should be proud of.

As you know, many times, there are laws, taxes and proposals that we believe are detrimental to home ownership. Fortunately, we have a way to combat those issues. The first as I hope you know is RPAC, the Realtor’s Political Action Committee. RPAC is not partisan and supports candidates and elected officials that support our positions. I have asked before and I will ask again, if you have contributed to RPAC, I thank you. Maybe consider making another contribution or attending one of the many events we hold. If you have not contributed, please consider donating now. Also, if you are a broker, please consider making a $250-contribution and join other brokers in supporting our RPAC250 campaign. There is a link on HGAR’s new website,  and Member Portal to our RPAC efforts to make it easy. No contribution is too small, and every contribution is important to protect home ownership rights and what we do as Realtors.

What else can you do you ask? The answer is simple. You can attend Lobby Day on May 7th in Albany. Our Legislative Committee Chair Leah Caro and Vice Chair Clayton Livingston are doing a great job in putting together a successful day for all of us. If you are not familiar with Lobby Day, it is a day when Realtors throughout the state gather in Albany to advocate for issues affecting the real estate industry. We get to meet with our elected officials to discuss the First Time Home Buyer’s Savings Account, Wetlands oversight and transparency in co-op housing to name a few.

As such a large association, I can tell you from experience, that when we attend Lobby Day, our elected officials appreciate and listen to our voice, as we represent 12,000 Realtors from the Hudson Valley. We, HGAR, have two buses that go to Albany. After we arrive, we are treated to breakfast and we have a guest speaker. We then meet with our elected officials as a group and then make personal visits to any legislator that could not attend our meeting. After that, we have lunch, and then head back to the Hudson Valley. There is no cost to attend, and it is a very important as well as an educational day. You can register at HGAR.com. and we would be happy to have you join us. The more we have attending the more impact we have.

The following week, certain members of the Board of Directors and committee chairs will be going to Washington D.C. to continue the effort to discuss issues with our elected officials at NAR’s mid-year meetings.

As the spring market is upon us, and we all get busier with what I hope is a very productive time of the year, I encourage you to remember that we need to continue to do our job in a most ethical and professional manner. Consider joining me in taking NAR’s C2EX (Commitment to Excellence).  Lastly, as stated above, join us on May 7th, and support RPAC by contributing.

Thank you for all the support at our many events we have held this year. I look forward to seeing you in the future, and I wish all of you a very healthy, happy and successful spring.

Ron Garafalo
Ron Garafalo is 2019 President of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, Inc