Get to the Table

Politics are inextricably weaved into our lives. Whether we like it or not, politics directly affect our communities, businesses, finances, and lifestyles.

Many of us don’t want to involve ourselves in political matters, but an eyes-wide-open approach requires that we must. We either engage in the political process, or we allow ourselves, our families, and our clients to become helpless pawns in a much larger game. We’re involved. Acceptance, much like in a 12-step program, is the first step.

The clout of the REALTOR® organization is great, and the work we’ve done in the political arena has brought great benefits for our profession and our clients. We can’t spend time on victory laps, though. The landscape we’re up against is one of unceasing, misguided legislation that threatens our occupations, and our neighbors’ ability to buy, sell, and enjoy real estate.

That might sound hyperbolic, but look at the arrows slung at us in just the past legislative session: a proposed capital gains income tax on real estate, increased business and occupation tax, increased rates in current real estate excise taxes, new categories of excise taxes—the list goes on and on. Every year, without fail, a plethora of poorly envisioned proposals are pushed by well-financed political organizations that would harm the real estate industry and property owners. Luckily, our REALTOR® lobbyists and staff have held most of these attacks on homeownership and affordability back.

The situation regarding the Hirst Decision is the exception and a stark reminder of the threats to our causes. Thousands of property owners across our state have been blocked from accessing water on their properties. Ergo, they can’t build a home. The water’s there. The building permits are there. But a rat’s nest of political and legal maneuvering has allowed some legislators to ignore these property owners’ pain. Their real estate has become virtually worthless, while they continue to pay taxes upon it, with no assurance of a fix or a timeline.

This situation persists, despite an unbelievably successful year for REALTOR® lobbying. There’s much to applaud. As one of the most powerful and successful political action committees in the state, REALTOR® PAC has had significant victories in Washington politics for our members. That only happens because of the immense support that our staff receives from REALTOR® leadership, REALTOR® PAC investors, and volunteers like you.

Our outlook on the 2018 political front is once again stormy. We need your support this year, more than ever. If we’re not at the table, we’re on the menu, so we don’t plan to give up our seats.

We attend Hill Day every year because our policymakers need to remember who we are. They need to know that the REALTORS® who work day, night, evenings, and weekends to help their clients achieve the American Dream expect them to protect that dream. 

We visit with our legislators to remind them that real estate makes up 1/6 of the economy; that buying a home is more than just spending money; that home ownership has positive effects on communities and schools; that investing in a home is our neighbors’ most often-used vehicle for retirement savings; that protecting and incentivizing homeownership is a worthwhile cause. 

Sam DeBord

Sam DeBord
is managing broker of Seattle Homes Group with Coldwell Banker Danforth and President of Seattle King County REALTORS®. You can find his team at and


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