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Affiliate Spotlight: Michael Mini, Executive Vice President, Chicagoland Apartment Association

Michael Mini is the Executive Vice President for the Chicagoland Apartment Association (CAA). Prior to joining CAA, Mini worked as a Vice President of Public Policy for the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, as Managing Director for the Realtors Commercial Alliance, and as Government Affairs Director for the Chicago Association of Realtors. NAA recently caught up with him and learned about what’s happening politically in the Illinois General Assembly and in the City of Chicago, how he got involved in politics and his favorite Chicago baseball team.

NAA: What are your state legislators focusing on this year?  

MM: Our governor and state legislature are in a stalemate and have been unable to agree on a budget for over a year and half. Our unfunded pension liabilities are the highest in the nation. We were able to kill a radon testing and disclosure bill this session and we’re working to mitigate the impact of amendments to the Smoke Detector Act and lead paint abatement requirements.

NAA: What are your CAA’s state legislative priorities this year?  

MM: Our number one priority is to defeat an initiative of the City of Chicago to insulate homeowners from a property tax increase by expanding the homeowners’ exemption, shifting the increased burden from homeowners to commercial buildings and apartments. 

NAA: What races are you watching this year?  

MM: We’ll be reviewing elections for the Illinois General Assembly this fall and participate in a handful of races where we can make a difference. Currently, Democrats have a supermajority in both the House and Senate. 

NAA: What are CAA’s local legislative/regulatory priorities for 2016?  

MM: We’re currently working on a Chicago ordinance to regulate shared housing. Our primary objectives are to prohibit tenants from renting their units on platforms like Airbnb without the owner’s consent, and that owners be allowed to participate in short term rentals if they choose to do so.    

NAA: What are your local officials concentrating on?  

MM: The need for affordable housing is a hot topic and apartment developers have been asked to subsidize it through inclusionary zoning requirements that threaten to impede market rate development. Chicago has also proposed a fee on short-term rentals to help pay for low-income housing. 

NAA: How did you get involved in politics?  

MM: My uncle was a local elected official and I used to march in parades and campaign with him as a kid. 

NAA: What is the most challenging aspect of your job and what is the most rewarding aspect of your job?  

MM: Never having run an organization, dealing with the administrative and managerial responsibilities of the job is most challenging for me. Gaining new members, helping them navigate some regulatory challenges, and achieving public policy successes is most rewarding.   

NAA: What is your favorite political movie?  

MM: How about series? House of Cards.

NAA: What is your favorite non-political movie?  

MM: Field of Dreams.

NAA: What was the last “non-political” book that you’ve read?  

MM: Bill Walton’s autobiography, Back from the Dead.

NAA: Who do you follow on Twitter?  

MM: Politico, Jake Arrieta, Wilco.

NAA: What do you do during your down time?  

MM: Spend time with my kids, read, listen to live music.

NAA: Where did you go to school? 

MM: University of Illinois.

NAA: What is your favorite band? 

MM:  Wilco.

NAA: Who is your favorite sports team?  

MM: The Chicago Cubs.

NAA: What is the best advice you've ever received?  

MM: “Always aim high. There’s no substitute for hard work,” and “It’s better to do something imperfectly than nothing perfectly.”