WR Statement on District 28 Ad

Over the weekend, a Political Action Committee sent a campaign mailing containing racist imagery.

Over the weekend, a Political Action Committee sent a campaign mailing containing racist imagery. While Washington REALTORS® did not produce the ad, we did make a financial contribution to the PAC. We unequivocally condemn the imagery used in the ad and should have stated that in our first social media statement. We are sorry for the hurt this racist ad has caused. Our leadership team has spent the weekend reflecting on how to be fully accountable and transparent, ensure our contributions are never used in this way, and use our association’s influence to affect positive social change. We are writing this letter in the spirit of accountability.

It has long been the practice of the Washington REALTORS® to contribute significant amounts to each of the four political caucuses (House Democrats, House Republicans, Senate Democrats, Senate Republicans) in the state Legislature. Each of the campaign committees then makes independent decisions about how to spend the money without our oversight. Accordingly, Washington REALTORS® had no role in the development or approval of these ads. However, we are now in active conversation with campaign leadership and have urged them to take public accountability for the approval and public distribution of this ad.

But we know we must go further. We acknowledge that donations are a significant aspect of power and influence in our political system and we must be responsible for wielding that power and influence for positive change. To that end: Washington REALTORS® will develop and share a statement of principles with political action committees to clarify our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and fair housing and make clear the consequences for not abiding by them.

We are also asking other organizations and associations who make political donations to engage in a similar process to hold political campaigns to a higher standard. We believe this can change the political discourse in our state to focus on the quality of ideas and policies rather than discriminatory attacks. The campaign ad was unacceptable and hurtful: We see this as an overdue opportunity for progress.

Washington REALTORS® is dedicated to the work of equity and inclusion. Our association is an acknowledged national leader in developing programs and policies to increase access to homeownership for communities of color. Like many states, Washington must reconcile a history of unfair housing practices, including redlining and unfair lending practices that left many people of color unable to access the dream of homeownership. We remain committed to this work, we acknowledge that it is ongoing, and we invite accountability and discussion to help us carry out this work more thoughtfully and effectively.

For general inquiries, please contact Washington REALTORS® CEO Steve Francks at steve.francks@warealtor.org, President Kitty Wallace at kittywallace@windermere.com or President-elect Tom Hormel at Tom@TomsCastles.com.

For media inquiries, please contact Steve Francks at steve.francks@warealtor.org.

Sincerely,

Kitty Wallace
Washington REALTORS® President

and 

Steve Francks
Washington REALTORS® CEO

 

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