In nearly 10 years or 118 main AZREIA meetings and several Conferences & Expos we have had four speakers that hold elected office. With three segments to each meeting that equates to a little more than 1% of the speakers being elected officials. There have been so few because I am extremely sensitive to AZREIA not being a political organization. In the four instances where we have had an elected official speak, we have been very diligent up front in working with their staffs to try and ensure the presentation remains on the topic and not the politics. Also, the speakers have been from both parties as from my perspective, it didn’t matter the party affiliation, only the issue and direction as it affect real estate investing.
Why do we have any elected officials speak at all? Good question and the answer is quite simple. First, take politics out of it and as investors we still need to know and understand what our elected official are working on and actually doing because it affects our business. Also, having some relationship with the official and more importantly their staff, we are more likely to get a meeting to help ensure the official understands the perspective and possible effect certain legislation could have on our members.
I certainly understand the risk associated with having politicians speak. Once they have the microphone there is no way to control what they are going to say. They may make political statements rather than sticking to policy. Also, our members or guests may not fully understand the reasons a certain individual is speaking and mistakenly think that it is a political speech and we are endorsing the politician’s views. This last item falls into the category of you can’t please everyone all the time.
Why an I writing about this now? Well, although we had very few politicians speak, we are having two speak in back-to-back meetings. Senate President, Steve Pierce, spoke last month and Congressman Schweikert is speaking this month. Right now I believe government is and will be having a larger role in items that affect all of us as real estate investors and we need to understand them. This is happening at the state and federal level. I believe having a speaker from each level of government is the best way to get this information to you.
Every year, usually in the summer, I have a meeting focused on government affairs. In the past this has always been an update on the state and local issues we worked on your behave through our lobbyist. In this last legislative session we were once again completely successful in our efforts at the state, so I wanted to get some exposure for AZREIA and our members at the highest levels of state government. At the national level things move more slowly and candidly, we have very little influence over what happens. Having someone explain many of the recent laws and their affect, as well as potential legislation and its affect is a very good way to communicate with our members.
At AZREIA we will always to our best to keep you informed of legislation and laws that affect you and your business.