By Nico Hohman
As a sophomore member of the government affairs committee at the Greater Tampa Association of REALTORS® (GTAR), I was fortunate enough to receive a full scholarship to attend and participate in the the Great American REALTOR® Days at the Florida State Capitol in January.
Our jam-packed schedule was full of exciting visits with our local representatives and senators to discuss some of the most important issues facing REALTORS®, home owners, and business owners in Florida. Estoppel fees, sweeping the trust funds, water regulation, and taxes on business rents are just a sampling of the issues discussed over the two days of meetings and events. While in Tallahassee, we even saw one our supported bills pass on the Senate floor.
One of my biggest takeaways from the trip was seeing that our representatives and senators are more than willing – even excited – to speak to us and listen to the issues affecting our businesses and our clients. It’s amazing what happens when you can put a familiar face to an issue that will impact everyone living, working, and visiting our great state of Florida.
One of the best examples comes from Rep. Janet Cruz of Tampa: “The members of GTAR were the first to support me,” Cruz said. “And now I am 100 percent in support of your issues.”
Getting to mix and mingle with lawmakers and fellow REALTORS® from around the state was another excellent benefit of this trip. This networking brought home the point that I am not alone in caring about these issues, and it was a fantastic nightcap to a wonderful day in session.
As someone already interested in policy and government, this trip was a fantastic opportunity for me to learn more about the legislative process. I encourage all YPNers to take full advantage of the involvement opportunities at your local association. You can have a voice at the state level and really make a difference for your clients and for our industry.