AS I WRITE THIS, much is happening politically that impacts each of our businesses. The ongoing strife in Washington, D.C., certainly gives us little confidence for the immediate future, with the ongoing battle over the health care overhaul and dissention between the nation’s political parties over everything from tax reform to enacting the “nuclear option” to confirm the newest associate justice of the Supreme Court.
In April, I attended my second meeting of the Real Estate Roundtable (RER). NAIOP plays a fundamental role in working with RER on industry-related coalitions and issues, ensuring that our industry presents a cohesive voice to the government about real estate’s important role in the domestic and global economies.
The topics we discussed at the meeting were diverse and included discussions with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross Jr., both of whom are supportive of issues important to real estate. Chao is a steady hand with deep political knowledge, and she is acutely aware of the need for infrastructure improvements. She believes that both parties want a deal, but Republicans want it to be tax neutral and Democrats want government to pay for it. They are only $700 to $800 billion apart! While I’m hopeful that the new administration will enact an infrastructure program, I don’t expect it to happen until 2018.
To me, what is important is that both parties demonstrate leadership. President Trump was elected to be a change agent in D.C., and I believe the vast majority of our elected leaders are passionate about their service and want to do the best they can for their constituents. Now it’s up to each of them to work together for the good of the nation.
As NAIOP celebrates its 50th anniversary, I’m pleased to report that the association continues to move in a positive direction and is fully engaged with both the political issues facing our industry as well as the industry-related topics that either keep us up at night or are propelling our businesses forward during this period of growth.
I’ve enjoyed traveling to our chapters and, in particular, visiting some of the smaller chapters and markets to learn what makes them tick. I’ve appreciated the experience of visiting diverse commercial real estate markets, from Dayton, Ohio, to Reno, Nevada, to Seattle, Washington. While these markets could not be more different, industry leaders and their involvement in NAIOP are the threads that connect them. I look forward to visiting more chapters as the year continues.
I’ve always believed that for every challenge, there is a solution — and an opportunity. The old adage that life is “10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you deal with it” is true.
We all have work to do. To help advance our industry and our nations, I urge you to get involved. Call your member of Congress, your member of parliament and/or your senator. Ensure that they know how what they’re doing — or, in some cases, not doing! — affects you.
To make the most of this period of industry prosperity, I also encourage you to deepen your involvement with NAIOP by attending our upcoming industrial conference (I.CON: Trends and Forecasts, June 8-9 in Long Beach, California) and the fall CRE.Converge event (October 10-12 in Chicago). I look forward to seeing you there, as we celebrate NAIOP’s 50th anniversary and acknowledge our accomplishments and the leaders who have guided the association throughout its existence.