Currently 42 open seats in Congress, meaning that the incumbent Member of Congress is not running for re-election. Some are retiring and some are running for another office. There are an additional 19 or so tight races across the country where current FPCs will likely lose their member of Congress and a new FPC will need to be appointed. In each case, the 2017 State President, in consultation with the State Association, have an important duty to nominate someone who will be able to carry out this critical element of advocacy that is the heartbeat of the NAR grassroots program.
FPCs serve as the constituent link to the Members of Congress whose policy decisions affect REALTORS® across the country. An ideal NAR advocate holds the following attributes:
- A close personal relationship with the Member of Congress (this is ideal, but not necessary)
- An interest in politics;
- An understanding of the key issues affecting REALTORS®
- An energy and wherewithal to carry out the NAR specified grassroots initiatives asked of this prestigious position;
- Existing relationships with other legislators, community and business leaders.
Further questions you should ask yourself as you consider candidates during the selection process.
- Is the candidate knowledgeable about REALTOR® Party issues facing Congress?
- Are they someone who can go above and beyond to build strong personal relationships with their assigned lawmakers to represent real estate?
- Are they up for the job, in terms of energy and drive?
- Does the FPC candidate accurately reflect and represent the demographic of the area they represent?
- More specifically, have you considered nominating an FPC from the following multicultural groups if your district heavily leans in a certain direction?
- National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP)
- Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA)
- National Association of Real Estate Brokers (Realtists)
Diversity in the FPC Program is something NAR looks forward to cultivating further in the coming cycle. Keep in mind that half of first time homebuyers are Latino and two-thirds of households being formed are African American, Latino, or Asian American. The future of homeownership is multicultural and the FPC Program should reflect this, especially in majority minority districts. It is our responsibility to reach out and engage multicultural member in our membership and into our leadership – otherwise we risk becoming irrelevant to this growing part of the market. We know the value that an FPC's personal relationship with a member of Congress brings NAR. We also know that connecting with a member through shared communities is an effective way of becoming a partner with the member of Congress in addressing the needs and issues of those communities. As a result, because many of the most active multicultural members are active in either NAHREP, AREAA or the Realtists, it would be smart to tap those members to explore if there are good candidates for FPCs and contact teams where appropriate.
Federal Political Coordinator: The Role
A Federal Political Coordinator's most valuable contribution to NAR is the relationship they develop with their Member of Congress. In addition to regular contact with the assigned Member of Congress, there are several specific tasks that are required to fulfill the role of FPC. Please review them below.
- Respond to ALL NAR Calls for Action
FPCs are expected to respond to ALL NAR Calls for Action they receive.
As NAR's key REALTOR® communicators with Congress, FPCs are looked upon as leaders by their REALTOR® colleagues and should lead by example. After responding to a Call for Action, FPCs should also encourage their fellow REALTORS® to do the same.
- Advocate on Behalf of All REALTORS® and the REALTOR® Party
The REALTOR® Party is the non-partisan approach to moving forward legislation that is of benefit and value to all REALTORS®. FPCs must be able to remain neutral on the issues and remove their personal bias before advocating on any REALTOR-supported issue 100% of the time.
- Contact Assigned Member of Congress At Least Once per Quarter and Submit a Field Report
FPCs should have a minimum of four personal contacts with their Member of Congress (or staff) per year (meetings, RPAC check deliveries, etc.).
FPCs are encouraged, however, to not limit that number to four and should communicate with their assigned Member of Congress as often as possible. Filing a field report after each meeting, alerts NAR lobbying, policy and RPAC staff (if a check delivery was part of the interaction) as well as state government affairs staff that the meeting occurred and follow up may be required.
- Participate in Training as Required
All FPCs must complete required training either in person or online.
Newly appointed FPCs will participate in the semi-annual conference in Washington, D.C., and returning veterans can complete their training requirement with various online options. Being familiar with each NAR issue is essential to advocate on behalf of REALTORS®.
- Utilize and Deliver All RPAC Contributions in a Timely Manner
FPCs are each allocated In-State Funds that they can use at their discretion to help develop their relationship with their Member of Congress.
FPCs are to ensure that these funds are utilized early in the two-year cycle (six-year cycle for Senators). $1,000 is allocated for each Representative and $2,000 for each Senator, per cycle. FPCs are also responsible for delivery of additional RPAC checks as approved by the RPAC National Trustees. They should ensure that each check is delivered in a timely manner.
- Attend Each Annual Legislative Conference
FPCs are reimbursed up to $1,000 for travel expenses incurred to attend the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington DC in May of each year. Each FPC should make every effort to attend and lead the issue advocacy discussion in their respective Member of Congress' office. This is the most important federal meeting of the year, and FPC participation is vital.
- Develop a Contact Team
Each FPC should identify REALTORS® in the district that can assist in their duties, and should notify their national REALTOR® Party Member Involvement Committee (RPMIC) member upon doing so.
The FPC should maintain regular communication with the team on the NAR issues and CFAs. The team should be ready to aid the FPC in check deliveries or facilitate a meeting in the FPC's absence if necessary. Members of the team will be viewed as possible replacements for the FPC should the time come to step down.
- Sign and Return a Pledge Form to NAR
The Pledge is an agreement between the appointed FPC and NAR.
By signing the form, the FPC agrees to carry out their duties to the best of their ability and acknowledges they can be removed for failure to fulfill the role.
As you are likely aware, there are resources available to every FPC to help fulfill their responsibilities and recruit high potential contact teams. Some of these resources include:
- Training – the FPC training will be February 6-9, 2017 in Washington, D.C.
- Opportunities to interact with lawmakers
- Leadership backing
- Financial Resources: RPAC (REALTORS® Political Action Committee) Funds
Sample Recommendation Letter
RPAC serves as a critical FPC resource to support pro-REALTOR® candidates in their election efforts. RPAC is the largest association PAC in the nation, with direct contributions in 2015 totaling over $6.8 million. RPAC allocates certain funds for FPCs to use each cycle, including "In-State" funds and "Special Recognition Funds."
- $1,000 for each FPC for a Congressional two-year election cycle and
- $2,000 for each FPC for a Senate six-year election cycle.
In-State Funds are funds that can be used to attend in-district receptions or events for Members of Congress to support their re-election efforts.
Special Recognition Funds
Before each election, all state association RPAC trustees meet to consider additional support for each member of Congress based upon their voting record on REALTOR® Party issues. Once the NAR trustees approve a state's request, that state association will receive a special recognition check for a member's re-election.
The following is a brief timeline of what to expect from NAR this Fall as you nominate your new FPCs.
Level of Interest Calls: REALTOR® Party Member Involvement Committee Member(s) (RPMIC) will begin phone calls or meetings with each of the state's current FPCs to determine the level of interest in continuing in their role in the 115th Congressional session.
FPC Discussions Begin: State RPMIC Representative(s) will contact 2017 State Presidents and State EOs and GADs to begin your discussions of the FPC recommendations.
Nov. 18th Deadline: Official FPC recommendation letters due at NAR.
Letters should be addressed to NAR, on State letterhead and to be signed by 2017 State President.
Processing of FPC Welcome Kits: NAR will process and send the FPC welcome kits.
The invites and information will be sent to all new FPCs regarding the FPC training Conference in early 2017.
Feb. 6-9: NAR Policy Conference and FPC Training: NAR will host the new FPC Training Conference in Washington, D.C. on Feb 7. All FPCs will attend the Policy Conference on Feb. 8 and the veteran FPCs will have training on Feb. 9.
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