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Capitol Update: All Eyes are on the Midterms

Capitol Update

Apartment Industry Colleagues,

Let me begin this month by thanking those affiliated associations and owners who participated in our apartment community tour program over the August recess. You spent time, resources and patience organizing tours of apartment communities with elected officials, including members of Congress, candidates for the House of Representatives and even state legislators. The reports were overwhelmingly positive as these current and potential policymakers learned some things they did not know about our industry while building relationships with their constituents. At the same time, our case for reauthorizing the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act and stopping EPA’s proposed clean water act rule was made. A hat-trick of grassroots advocacy wins. Nice work, team!

As summer yields to fall, all eyes in the political world are turning to the handful of Senate races which will determine whether Republicans take over management from Democrats. For those of you in these states, gird your loins for an onslaught of advertisements (as opposed to the mere blitzkrieg you have enjoyed to this point) that candidates and third-party groups will run between now and Nov. 4. For a state-by-state breakdown of these races, I refer you to and Charlie Cook, one of the best prognosticators in the business and with whom we partner to brief NAAPAC donors on campaigns and elections. 

I would sum up the state of play by saying that most if not all of the Senate battleground races are still toss-ups. This is much to everyone’s surprise based upon how these races looked on paper six months ago. Republicans are not pulling ahead as was anticipated so these races will go down to – and in the case of Louisiana potentially past – the wire. There is even a scenario where we end up with a 50-50 tie. Who would be the tie-breaker? Vice President Joe Biden!

Being that many of you are probably working on your budgets for next year or at the very least plotting out travel on your calendars, I am going to make an early pitch for the 2015 Capitol Conference, which takes place on Tuesday, March 17 and Wednesday, March 18. More of you participated in the conference this year than ever before and we are committed to drawing even more next year. We’re enhancing the content for this conference with more advocacy education and even better speakers. Perhaps most importantly, doing your part to help the apartment industry only takes two days and nights out of your schedule. There will be a new Congress and as always lots of issues to discuss with the members of the House and Senate. More information will follow soon. I hope you will make it a priority.

I’ll close with a request (please keep reading…I promise you it’s mostly painless). Everyone in the multifamily industry knows the value of information and rarely proceeds on any transaction without having as much as they can. NAA believes this as well and seeks to fill in some gaps with our annual Income and Expense Survey which provides a wealth of information on property operation expenses and revenue. We’re now working to expand the resources devoted to research that will benefit you and your business. Certainly, we in government affairs have a long list of policy issues into which we would like to dive deeper. But we won’t go into this assuming we know what research would serve you best – we need you to tell us that. Here’s my request:

If the great and powerful Oz could grant you one piece of information (e.g. market data, best practice), answer one policy question or in some other way fill in a gap in information, what would that be?

Send your research wishes as well as any other comments on this column to me by email. As always, thanks for reading.