More than 700 members of the National Apartment Association converged on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. during the second week of March to participate in the largest Advocate conference to-date (until next year).
NAA members and staff visited the offices of all 535 members of Congress with our industry’s message regarding our role in working closely with policymakers to create an environment where safe, affordable housing is available to all.
NAA’s membership gathered on Monday to network, to renew connections and to get prepared for their day on the Hill. Newcomers benefited from the Congressional Management Foundation’s yearly insight on best practices and for making the most of their time in Congressional offices. This year, the presentation was augmented by live polling that helped synthesize those practices by showing responses and statistics of the audience in real time.
At the Issues Briefing, NAA Legislative Committee Chairman Brian Chase brought to the stage NAA’s foremost experts on federal legislative issues, SVP, Government Affairs Greg Brown, and NAA’s two new Directors of Federal Legislative Affairs, J. Maurice Jackson and Jason Lynn, who join NAA with over 20 years of combined experience on Capitol Hill.
They walked through three policy priorities for Advocate 2019, including federal infrastructure’s role in reducing barriers to apartment construction, shoring up and protecting the National Flood Insurance Program and making smart, common-sense reforms to the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program to help incentivize more private sector participation in the program.
Together, we laid a new cornerstone in our mission to advocate on behalf of the industry, and the expansion of that mission to include lobbying our federal lawmakers on issues important to our members.
“I was very pleased to be able to meet with Elizabeth Connolly, Economic Policy Advisor to Senator Gary Peters, to discuss our concerns with the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, our pressing infrastructure needs, and the continued failure of Congress to enact a long-term reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program,” said Advocate attendee Phillip Neuman, a member of the Detroit Metropolitan Apartment Association.
“These issues are very important to the multifamily housing industry, and it was good to be able to provide information to [Connolly] about each of these matters. She asked some good questions and I think we helped set the table for further discussion once specific pieces of legislation are introduced. I am always impressed with the knowledge of both our elected representatives and their staff and this year was no exception.”
This process did not start last week, however, and it certainly won’t end there. We are counting on our members and affiliate network to continue that work to bring our perspective and expertise to lawmakers, be it on Capitol Hill, or back home in their districts.
Have you participated in our key contacts survey? Do you still have feedback that we need from your Capitol Hill meetings? Those are two of the most potent tools that we use to help us better communicate with lawmakers, and we really cannot do it without you. Please make sure that you’ve helped us by participating in those two activities.
The road to Advocate 2020 has begun!
Look for extended coverage of NAA’s Advocate in the April 2019 issue of units Magazine.
This article was originally published by NAA.