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Quick guide for running for office when calling your lawmakers isn’t enough for you

(POLITICS) If calling your lawmakers isn’t enough for you, it may be time you consider running for office, even if it’s local city council.

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Doing more than voting

More and more people are developing a strong interest in their government representatives.

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The political climate today is tumultuous, to say the least, and the recent presidential election has driven home the idea that often, the loudest voices are the ones that prevail.

Be active in your political community

Pay close attention to your local reps: are their actions and decisions actually representative of you and your priorities? Are there any important votes coming up that you want to show support for, or any recent bills that you’re unhappy with?

Consider making your voice heard by calling your rep to express your concern.

We wrote this guide to an easy tool for jumpstarting your phone call activism – but unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that your voice will change your representative’s mind.

The tipping point

If you’re consistently dissatisfied with your representative, and with all the candidates in the running at election time, it might be time to run for office yourself. For one thing, being unable to find a candidate that you can fully support is a good sign that you’re well informed on the relevant issues, and hold strong positions on each one.

If you can’t find a candidate that aligns with your priorities, other people are probably having the same problem.

That means there’s a representation gap, and you could be the one to fill it in.

Look before you leap

There are few thing to note before you take the plunge into political life.

Be sure you’re comfortable with the commitments involved.

First, free time will shrink dramatically. Whether you’re just launching your campaign or you’ve just won the election, you’ll be spending the vast majority of your time taking meetings, making phone calls, attending events, and, you know, doing your job as an elected official.

You’ll also need to be ready to ask people for money basically all the time. Campaigns rely on a steady stream of donations, and without a strong campaign, you’re highly unlikely to win.

Build your team

If these sound like sacrifices you’re willing to make for the sake of your potential constituents, your next step is to gather a network of supporters – donors and volunteers – to help you bring your campaign to fruition.

Leverage any communities you belong to, and don’t be afraid to network.

For example, Realtors and brokers can often obtain backing from the Board, especially if you’re vision aligns with theirs. That’s a major resource that shouldn’t be wasted.

Do your due diligence

And before you dive in too deep, explore your options and educate yourself – political science is called a science for a reason.

In addition to anecdotal accounts, there are plenty of data-backed resources for campaign best-practices and more.Click To Tweet

This Slate article outlines all kinds of resources for running for office, from candidate training, to helpful books, to campaign services and software. There’s a growing movement supporting new political hopefuls, and taking advantage of that support can only help you in your campaign to speak up for your community.

#ActDontSlack

Staff Writer, Natalie Bradford earned her B.A. in English from Cornell University and spends a lot of time convincing herself not to bake MORE brownies. She enjoys cats, cocktails, and good films – preferably together. She is currently working on a collection of short stories.

Politics

President Trump signs Executive Order on healthcare, calls it “a beginning”

(BUSINESS NEWS) The ink is drying on President Trump’s latest Executive Order, pushing agencies to adjust how existing healthcare laws are implemented.

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President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order Thursday, seeking to bring affordable health insurance to millions of Americans by promoting flexibility, choice, and competition.

The Order assigns the Labor Department to consider how to allow groups (small businesses, possibly individuals) to buy Association plans across state lines, consider expanding coverage through short-term low-cost plans, and to consider changes to employee reimbursement accounts.

House Minority leader, Nancy Pelosi said prior to the signing of the Order that “it is a sabotage of the Affordable Care Act, and quite frankly, a real disservice to the American people.”

Pelosi opined that President Trump “knows very little about healthcare legislation.”

Supporters have long pushed for health insurance to be competitive by opening the market across state lines and using the power of numbers to buy insurance like a trade Association.

Critics have long said an Order of this type will increase premiums as the risk pool adjusts up, filled mostly with people buying insurance that have pre-existing conditions. They also say that premiums may be lower under this Order, but benefits may be reduced.

Neither side has a universal solution all can agree upon, but this Order certainly marks the first steps in President Trump making good on his campaign promise to dismantle Obamacare.

The administration cites that it could take over six months to take effect. Congress has already given up on the notion of repeal/replace of Obamacare in 2017, and while President Trump can’t repeal the Act himself, today’s Order proves he is willing to push his administration to update guidance and expand how the law is implemented.

How the agencies will adjust to change the current regulations as ordered by the President will become clear over time, stay tuned.

National Association of Realtors President, William E Brown tells The Real Daily, “Today’s White House announcement is an important part of the work to expand health coverage opportunities. Association Health Plans have long offered promise for small business owners and self-employed individuals seeking affordable health coverage.”

Brown concludes that they are “reviewing the specifics of the proposal to determine the promise that it may offer self-employed individuals, like real estate professionals.”

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Politics

FHA Commissioner named, now all he needs is a yes from the Senate

(POLITICS) President Trump has confirmed his choice for the new commissioner of the FHA, all that is left is for Senate to approve.

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Confirmation, finally

Confirming rumors that began in May, President Trump this Wednesday announced his nomination of Brian Montgomery for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) commissioner.

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Montgomery will replace acting commissioner Edward Golding.

Commissioner round two

If the Senate approves his nomination, Montgomery will serve for the second time as FHA commissioner. He held the post for eight years under former president George W. Bush, and for about six months after Obama’s inauguration before resigning in July 2009.

Currently, Montgomery serves as Vice Chairman for an advisory firm he founded – The Collingwood Group, based in Washington D.C.

In his previous tenure as FHA commissioner, Montgomery created a bill, passed in July 2006, which significantly modernized the FHA, and also worked to assist black families trying to purchase a home for the first time. For his leadership in the cause of affordable housing, in 2008 he was awarded the Robert J. Corletta Award.

In a statement issued by the White House, Montgomery was praised for his leadership during his previous term as commissioner. The statement acknowledged Montgomery’s “efforts to preserve… affordable rental housing,” as well as his successes in “reducing rental assistance costs and the costs of FHA insurance claims,” and in financing the development of “more than 300,000 rental units.”

Work to do

If his nomination is confirmed, as FHA commissioner, Montgomery will need to address the suspension of the proposed mortgage insurance rate cut that Trump imposed shortly after taking office in January.

Last November, Montgomery told Politico that in order “To restore housing to its traditional role as an engine of economic growth and opportunity, the incoming Trump administration should pursue policies designed to make the path to homeownership possible again for fully-informed prospective buyers who have the ability to carry a mortgage.”

Pick up the pace

Business leaders and realtor are calling for the Senate to confirm the nomination as soon as possible. National Association of Realtors President William E. Brown wrote, “FHA’s mission is critical to the business of our members. Having strong leadership at the helm means fresh opportunities to improve the FHA programs that put homeownership in reach for millions of Americans every year. We congratulate Brian on the nomination and hope to see him swiftly confirmed.”

#ComishMontgomery

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Politics

Mnuchin might be capping your Mortgage Interest Deductions

(POLITICS) With so much effort being put forth to encourage homeownership, it seems ridiculous that the government is looking to cap mortgage policies designed as incentive for ownership.

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Favorite homebuyer tax cut could be in danger

Potential homebuyers, especially first time homebuyers are always looking for the maximum amount of discounts and price breaks to make their dream homes more affordable. One of the most popular ways to do this is by utilizing the government tax breaks for first time (and often repeat) homebuyers on their mortgage.

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The Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID) is one of the most effective ways to make homes that are marginally out of a buyer’s price range, a bit more affordable. MID allows homeowners to write off the interest they pay on their home loans when filing their income taxes. This is a lifesaver for most homeowners’ budgets. However, as the tax reform season kicks in, it looks as though the MID may be on the chopping block (or at least the shaving block).

MID may be trimmed/reformed

According to CNBC, one source, who wished to remain anonymous, stated, “saying they [tax reformers] aren’t going to get rid of it [the MID] isn’t saying they won’t touch it. There are clearly discussions going on around reducing the maximum of the mortgage interest deduction to the $600,000 range.” While this may not seem like much of a reduction at first glance, consider that the current maximum is $1,000,000 for married couples filing jointly and $500,000 for single homeowners. Also, as CNBC reports, the median home price point is approximately $200,000.

By lowering the MID to the $600,000 range, not all individuals are going to meet this cap, but they may well be discouraging some other individuals from purchasing a home.

In May, Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin stated that President Trump’s tax-reform plan would not eliminate the MID, however, this is again not to say it’s safe from reform. The MID has been the subject of modification/reduction/reform talks before, but it seems as though it has become an even more pressing concern as of late.

Discouraging homeownership

The more worrying aspect of this is that the MID has long been considered “safe” or “untouchable” by tax reformists, until now. By reforming, and potentially lowering the cap to $600,000, this measure could be used as a bargaining chip to change more “safe” deductions. Many real estate industry SPECIALISTS, also worry that this measure will not only open the floodgates for additional reform, but also that it will be an unwanted stepping stone to discouraging more potential homebuyers from making the leap into homeownership.

According to Doug Yearly, CEO of Toll Brothers (via CNBC), “making changes to the MID would be very bad policy.” He goes on to state,” this country has prided itself on encouraging homeownership, and MID has been around for decades. It’s worked very well.”

Nay to mortgage deduction changes

The National Association of Realtors will lobby hard against these changes, but it is unclear at this time whether or not these measures will go through, or if they’ll be aborted during tax-reform discussions.

Either way, this is definitely something to keep a watchful on, as reduction or elimination could be detrimental.

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