Real (Estate) Talk: Is RPAC Doing Right by Realtors?

As featured in my monthly Inman News column.  

Let's be honest. When we say our country was founded on the belief that 'all men are created equal', we know that it has been a constant struggle to truly extend this sentiment to all men, regardless of color.  


When we say American women were allowed the right to vote in 1920 after an arduous movement, we know it has been an uphill battle to realize that for all women of color in every state, who faced exclusionary tactics.


When we say 'the purpose of RPAC is clear: voluntary contributions made by REALTORS® are used to help elect candidates who understand and support their interests', we also have to question does 'understand and support their interests' truly extend to people of color and those in protected classes?


In my home state, Georgia (you know the place that has a contentious run-off election on January 5, 2021 that will decide the fate of the U.S. Senate), I received a postcard from REALTORSforPerdue.com. I initially was excited to read it because I was hopeful this was not skewed marketing propaganda from either the Democratic or Republican party but from my 'crew', REALTORS®. It outlined that incumbent Senator David Perdue is the candidate of choice because of his record on 'preventing excessive guarantee fee increases... on homebuyers in order to fund other government programs', 'encouraging... private insurance options for homeowners seeking affordable flood insurance alternatives', and supporting the Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act.




Hear! Hear! Those are commendable and absolutely paramount to homeownership.


BUT RPAC (REALTORS® Political Action Committee) left some vital things off this mailer. Where is information about Perdue's viewpoint on policies that affect fair housing and protected classes? At the least, there should have been something on Perdue's stance on the suspension of the AFFH process (which REALTORS® championed). I flipped over the mailer and even read the fine print. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch.


Here's the thing -- there is no perfect candidate and some of us may choose to split the ticket (4% ticket-splitting is a big deal in these close races and can drastically impact election results). Thus, it is imperative for our organization that represents us to give us a WHOLE picture.  For example, had this postcard had a quick-glance list or grid (for those that say there was only so much space to print) of all of the current issues relevant to different demographics including redlining (which is still in the news today, c.f. Redfin's alleged actions) and fair housing and discrimination along with Perdue's stance and even action plan, then I could respect RPAC's rally cry for us to donate regularly to their efforts to parse out the candidate most aligned with 'our' values. 


In other words, RPAC, can you please stop doling out parcels of information that may not truly reflect the varied interests of ALL REALTORS®, particularly those of us in protected classes? Please show us all candidates and their individual stances on all things real estate, which again should include fair housing, protected classes, and the current events that outflow.


I have contributed to RPAC each year hesitantly (I never could justify in my heart being a big donor) -- this overlooking of issues related to protected classes is precisely why. And, here is a secret, many of those that I have spoken with that do not contribute at all or very little, hold the same sentiment. Many of us do not care about being on the top of a tantalizing, 'Glamour Shots' pictorial donor list when we cannot come to terms with donating to something that does not overtly illuminate homeownership values relevant to every member, including protected classes.


To really include the interests of protected classes, which represents part of the REALTOR® membership, would go a long way in helping marginalized members feel RPAC is a safe and brave space (truly working for all) that we should substantially support.


Sound off - I would love to hear from you!  Give me a shout on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, or by visiting LearnWithDrLee.com.  

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