A group of members represented OKCMAR in Washington D.C. at the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo . So much to take in from various points of view – and this week Jessica Thompson shares her experience!
Before we left we didn’t know that the President would be speaking at the conference on Friday. On Tuesday I received a text message from NAR’s committee staff person asking if I would be attending. She asked me if I would be willing to be acknowledged by the President in his speech for the work that we have accomplished in Oklahoma City! Work that would not be possible without HUD money funded through community development block grants. These grants provide organizations with money to build infill-housing and to remodel abandoned and vacant homes. This increases the value of an otherwise low valued, stagnant market neighborhoods – and truly brings diversity of wealth. Without those funds these neighborhoods would not see revitalization.
In my neighborhood alone the city invested $2.5 million, which in return contributed to private investment of $10.6 million. I shared this with the staff, as well as my information for a Secret Service background check. Potentially being that close to the President and possibly going up to speak with him, they want to verify I am who I say I am. I found out Thursday that I was a front runner, but not selected. But despite that, for being willing to be part of the process, the secret service and NAR granted me special privileges in the event.
I showed up three hours early at their recommendation to find out I had a seat in the front row, next to the very speakers who beat me to the punch. One of them spoke about Opportunity Zones in Tennessee and the other about REALTOR® health insurance. One of them wrote her one-minute speech right there before the event!
Even though I was not selected to speak, the thought of being considered is humbling. To know that the President had considered the work that has been done in Oklahoma City as a worthy talking point is tremendous to me! And the icing on the cake: I got to sit on the same row as Secretary of HUD Ben Carson and talked with him about the HUD money that provides revitalization for our neighborhoods. Not to mention he was all for taking a selfie with me!
I appreciated the opportunity to be that close to a sitting President as he spoke about our industry and our economy.