State Legislative Contacts (like Christopher Tenggren) Play Key Roles in State Advocacy Team

State Legislative Contacts (like Christopher Tenggren) Play Key Roles in State Advocacy Team

Published by: the Illinois REALTORS® (Written by: By Bill Kozar, Content Marketing Specialist for the Illinois REALTORS®) in the Illinois REALTORS® July 2018 Magazine

Experienced state senators and state representatives look to Illinois REALTORS® for trusted, non-partisan opinions regarding real estate issues and property rights say three State Legislative Contacts (SLC).

That respect has been earned because the association provides consistent messages in support of more than 47,000 Illinois REALTORS® members and their clients.

Illinois REALTORS® Ed Neaves, Christopher Tenggren and Sarah Ware say the SLC program builds on National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) advocacy and reinforces positions of the Illinois REALTORS® Government Affairs Team, association leadership and executive staff. The SLCs are matched to state legislators from the same home districts.

“The SLC program gives us visibility and leverage,” says Neaves, SLC for state Sen. Jason Barickman, 53rd District. “Instead of being a doormat association that simply takes what is given to them, we are part of the process up front. We have a seat at the table and legislators at least listen to us.

“They realize REALTORS® are a powerful influencer in the process,” says Neaves, who is Illinois REALTORS® treasurer and the managing broker of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Snyder Real Estate in Bloomington. “We have boots on the ground at every corner of every neighborhood. We represent all economic segments of the state. That gives us credibility as an organization that cares about the communities we serve.”

Since SLCs are assigned to either one of 59 state senators or one of 118 state representatives, they can readily discuss how specific issues are affecting constituents. Communication between Illinois REALTORS® leaders and SLCs remains organized and clear, says Tenggren, SLC for state Sen. Karen McConnaughay, 33rd District.

“As a result of our consistent work across the state, I’d wager that most, if not all of the longer-tenured members of the Illinois General Assembly trust and respect us for our professional and bipartisan manner of doing business,” says Tenggren, of RE/MAX All Pro in St. Charles.

Tenggren and Neaves have been with the SLC program for more than six years and are members of the RPAC Hall of Fame. They see the importance of RPAC to the association’s support of candidates who are committed to private property rights and sound business practices.

“Some groups are strong in Springfield because they represent a lot of people,” says Neil Malone, director of grassroots and political programs. “Some are strong because they have influential people. Others are strong because they have a lot of money or resources. We have all those things.

“Some of us refer to our SLCs as ‘force multipliers’ because they reinforce the messages of our state lobbyists, our local government affairs directors and our members,” Malone said. “And they do it one-on-one with state legislators.”

Seeing Connections Between Local, State & National Policy

When the SLC program was created, association leaders sought to duplicate the trust and respect fostered through NAR’s Federal Political Coordinator (FPC) program. When Neaves began as FPC for U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, he discovered how important communication with an elected official really was. Also, he encountered situations when elected officials had to tackle complex issues in short periods of time.

“I was involved in a local fight against implementing an ordinance to require residential sprinklers in new construction,” Neaves said. “The town of Normal had already passed the code adoption and Bloomington was considering it too. We met with each city council member one-on-one for 90 minutes educating them about the issue. During that time, I realized many elected officials were being forced to make decisions without enough information.”

Finding More Value in Membership

Ware, the principal and managing broker for Ware Realty Group, with two offices in Chicago, has developed a better appreciation for the association’s value to members.

“Too often we only look to the association for continuing education credit and multiple listing service access,” said Ware, the SLC for state Rep. Juliana Stratton, 5th District.

“But advocacy is a large portion of our business, and considering the political climate on local, state and national levels in the past seven to 10 years, more consumers are engaged and in tune with what is happening. In addition, advocacy helps your business, which translates to your bottom line.”

For the full July 2018 Illinois REALTORS® Magazine in .pdf, format, Click Here! See Page 30

For the full article, visit at:  See Page 30

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State Legislative Contacts (like Christopher Tenggren) Play Key Roles in State Advocacy Team

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