PRESIDENT'S CORNER: Your Chance to Make a Real Difference

Barry Kramer | April 2018

Lobby Day has always been one of the most important days of the year. For nearly 20 years I’ve participated in nearly every one, and this year’s event was one of the best ever. I have to admit that arriving in White Plains to catch a bus at 6 a.m. has never really appealed to me. In the end, however, the trip is very worthwhile—and is not to be missed.

Lobby Day is a day when Realtors throughout the state gather in Albany to advocate for important issues like the new tax laws, co-op transparency, real estate-related tax hikes and other issues affecting Realtors and home owners. This year one of our priorities was the First-Time Homebuyer Savings Account Program. On a typical Lobby Day, after we arrive in Albany, we are treated to breakfast and a guest speaker. We then assemble to meet with local New York State Senators and Assembly members, followed by personal visits to any legislator who did not make it to our meeting. After lunch we make our way back home!

This year HGAR was well represented by Legislative Co-Chairs Leah Caro and John Olivero. Government Affairs Director Phil Weiden assembled one of our largest contingencies ever with approximately 75 attendees. HGAR sponsored two buses, both well supported. We had a good turnout for our session with legislators, but just as significant is that between this and our individual visits we reached more than 90% of our legislators. Our legislative teams visited nearly every Senator and Assembly member in our four-county region and Manhattan.

The significance of Lobby Day cannot be understated. Legislators listened to our agenda, and we felt many were in agreement with our pro-housing positions. It truly makes a difference when hundreds of Realtors descend on the Capitol for a day of advocacy.

Lobby Day and Realtor advocacy would not be possible without the Realtors Political Action Committee. The RPAC has promoted the election of pro-Realtor candidates across the United States. It enables Realtors to support candidates who support the issues that are important to their profession and livelihood.

Last year I was pleased to serve as RPAC Chairman, and this year’s Co-Chairpersons Dorothy Botsoe and Rich Hereska have been working hard to reach our ambitious goal. We’re so excited to announce our RPAC 250 Campaign for 2018. We’re asking each and every office to raise at least $250. In addition, we’ll be sponsoring an office competition, with awards given based on office size—small, medium and large. This competition will honor offices that go above and beyond in their financial support and participation through their collective investment in RPAC. At the end of the campaign the award winners will be treated to an extraordinary cocktail reception for their whole office, hosted by HGAR!

Dorothy, Rich and their committee are planning some great events, including Realtor Olympics, Zumba, a visit to the Culinary Institute of America, a day at Bear Mountain and several of their signature cocktail receptions.

Thanks again to everyone who supported us on Lobby Day and advocated for Realtor issues. Let’s keep up the momentum and show your support for RPAC. Attend an event or just pledge when you receive a call from one of our RPAC committee members. It’s your chance to make a difference!

Barry Kramer
Barry Kramer is 2018 President of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, Inc