by Patrick Malone, ILTA Past President (2004-05) – ALTA Past President
February 22, 2017
Simply put, advocacy is the active support of a cause. We all have causes which we sustain and work for. They come in a variety of flavors: religious, educational, cultural, or artistic, to name a few. Advocates are deeply passionate about the work they foster.
What about advocacy for the cause that provides our livelihood? Shouldn’t there be passion in this pursuit, as well? Perhaps it should be even deeper or, at least, equal to that for the other causes we support.
ILTA advocates for the livelihood of each and every professional in our industry all year long, year after year. Efforts of the Association are divided into three principal endeavors (I like to describe advocacy with the metaphor of a three-legged stool – unless each leg is equal, the stool will surely topple). The first leg of our stool is our Legislative Committee. It studies and opines on laws that impact relevant aspects of our work. The Committee informs us and prepares us.
The second leg is the face-to-face meetings with legislators and regulators made possible through the Association or undertaken individually by members. The prime example of this is our annual Lobby Day. In addition to Lobby Day, our advocacy is supported daily by the great work of Mike Lane, our Association Executive, and our consultants, Cook-Witter. Advocacy also takes place every time a member meets with a regulator or in the district office of their legislator.
This interaction is not merely necessary; it is vital to our interests. It is through discussions that we have the opportunity to educate, inform, and explain the important role we play. Unless we are able to articulate our work, most will have no idea of what we do. Put another way, if we don’t tell our own story, others will tell it for us; and it will likely not be the version we would have told. Think about the media, consumer groups, competing industries, detractors of all kinds. The story they tell may have an unflattering slant and reflect badly on all of us.
It is the often-misunderstood third leg of the stool that provides us the chance to tell our story. ILTA-PAC provides the access we need to policy-makers that will allow us to tell our own story. ILTA-PAC uses the funds it collects to support legislators who are or may be interested in the important work we do and the benefits we provide to their constituents. This leg requires as much strength as the other two or the stool will collapse; because our story will not be told by those who know it best – us.
There are hundreds of causes that compete daily for the attention of lawmakers. There are dozens in the real estate sphere alone. If we do not gain access to their attention, legislators may only hear from other groups in the industry. The stories of those with access will shape policy. We must not be left out. ILTA-PAC is here to foster the access which is essential to our advocacy.
The necessity for financial support of ILTA-PAC cannot be over-stated. A strong PAC is critical. I encourage each member to give generously. In fact, your level of contribution to ILTA-PAC should mirror the level of dues you pay. Yes, it IS that important.
Remember, the stool must have three legs of equal strength in order to stand. Without your passionate support of our advocacy efforts, it will collapse. Let’s not let our advocacy fail due to weakness of our PAC.
If you have already given, consider giving more. If you have not given, your share is needed today. Click here for the form you need to make your contribution or simply call the ILTA office at (217) 528-5230 ext 101.