Tales From a Part-time Politico

Tales From a Part-time Politico: 2012 Capitol Conference Recap
BY: Nicholas A. Dunlap, CPM
 *As published in the May 2012 Edition of Apartment News Magazine*
As you know, your AAOC membership provides you with a wealth of benefits and resources.  While some of these resources are more easily quantified & include the updated forms, credit checking, educational training & timely informational updates that you have access to, some of the most important work that is done to protect our industry is done behind the scenes and is accomplished through dedicated & effective legislative advocacy programs at the State & Federal levels. 
Through our partnership with the National Apartment Association, we recently participated in the joint efforts of the National Apartment Association (NAA) and the National Multi-housing Council (NMHC) at the 2012 Capitol Conference in Washington, D.C.  Visiting Washington, D.C. allowed us to meet with our elected officials and their staff to address some of the key issues that are facing apartment owners & operators at present.  On the agenda at Capitol Conference were items such as: tax reform, loosening of lending requirements with regard to FHA financing in the multifamily sector, continued dialogue with the EPA regarding storm water recapture, improving the Section 8 Voucher program, and yes, even the first ever “bed bug” bill. 
While it was beneficial to meet with and advise officials on how these issues will affect our industry, the true value of the visit is recognized through our ability to continually strengthen our relationships with these officials and provide them with the grass roots, hometown reference point into these issues at the national level.  With their busy schedules and multiple commitments, it can be easy for our elected officials to lose track of how key issues affect their constituents.  But through effective communication and dialogue, we carefully craft the portrait of our membership base and engage the support of our Senators & Congressmen in protecting our interests.   
Aside from our meetings with politicians, we attended upwards of 6 seminars & committee meetings per day, communicating with apartment owners & operators of all sizes & from all over the United States to share insight into our industry and to identify & be aware of the issues, rules and regulations that others are facing and could potentially come to California.  This being an election year, it is unlikely that these issues will become part of or be turned into bills that are voted on before November.  Look for many of the issues to surface in 2013.  At that time, please be sure to look out for our legislative updates and red alerts from AAOC.  You, too, play an integral part in the legislative process and help us provide the “feet on the street” that are necessary to defeat nuisance bills and legislation.  
So while our economic forecast has improved slightly, this could be the proverbial calm before the storm as far as legislative affairs is concerned.  Stay tuned for an update on our State specific Legislative affairs.