I went to an RPAC event recently. I don’t usually, but this was one of my 2011 New Year’s resolutions - to stop complaining and get involved.
I waited this long to get involved in RPAC because I really had no interest in it. The event I attended didn’t change that, to be honest -- too many folks in the room seemed far removed from my experience. If you can contribute in the tens of thousands of dollars to our Political Action Committee you likely aren’t fearing, like I am, that the money you’ve squirreled away for the winter may not be enough.
I smiled politely, shook hands and grabbed a few handouts as I left, feeling disconnected from my profession in a way I couldn’t repair. Over lunch the next day, I read a few of the pieces I’d received the night before. I garnered:
- Our national PAC impacted political races in two states in 2010 – and our preferred candidates won those elections against folks funded by national heavyweights. Really? Yes.
- In 8 of the 11 races we contributed to, our candidates succeeded. Really? Yes.
- Ok, but our PAC overwhelmingly supports conservative candidates, right? Actually, no.
- So we’re flaming liberals? No to that, too. In the aforementioned 11 races, 5 candidates were Republicans and 6 were Democrats.
- But the political process is so tangled and ugly. We shouldn’t participate in that mess. Turns out, we don’t. Our communications feature positive messages about candidates on real estate issues.
We are impacting elections? Yes, we are.
And then I came across this little tidbit: the FEC shows that our PAC is financed by individual donations from thousands of members, not by big corporate checks. Huh? What about those guys with the plaques and silver pins? Turns out they’re the minority. We – the individual members of the association – we are it.
I turned to my lunch mate and made him read the same materials. He said, ‘Yes, but half the time I don’t agree with how they spend my money.’
And I said, ‘Most of the time you don’t tell them what you think.’
So that’s the thing. RPAC doesn’t just need your money – and it does need your money. It also needs your opinion.
There are some big elections coming up. If you want to be heard you can’t sit in the office, coffee in hand, ranting about ‘the government.’ Call your association and tell someone how you feel . Anyone who knows our GAD knows he loves a good meaty issue to chew on and he’s more than willing to take your call. (Word of advice, do not get him started on baseball.) Phone call too aggressive for you? Send an e-mail. Send a text.
And send your contribution to RPAC.
The Association is only asking members to pitch in $20 this year and only 1 in 5 members have done so. If you don’t have $20, send in $10 or $5. Every penny counts. We all count.
Stand up and get counted, get heard, make a difference. You are the voice of real estate.
Carmen V. Rodriguez - Broker Associate, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage