We are not democrats. We are not republicans. We are “housers.” In order for you to fully grasp the benefit of advocacy check your overall political views at the door before you enter. Understanding your legislators political views, and how they mesh with yours, confirms that he or she has your values in their hearts. Think about these next two questions for a few minutes; what if they didn’t have your business, your career, your livelihood in their heart? Suppose you deeply believe in what your incumbent or candidate stands for but you are struggling to keep solvent?

There are quite a few passions one can have but if you are constantly and consistently “looking for business” from your membership, if nothing that was written previously has swayed you, then the one thing you can be passionate about is your job. There is no arguing this point; legislators make law and those laws can alter, redirect or dramatically change the building industry path.

The term “houser” has been utilized quite often to describe a legislator, state or federal, that has the good sense to understand the importance of a healthy home building industry. They don’t always side with the HBA’s point of view but they support the HBA’s position a major portion of the time. These men and women gain our friendship because friends care.

If you’re looking on a return on investment, what better return than business opportunities? Does that bring out the passion in you?

I can tell you one thing’s for certain and that is that the builder members are very passionate about the politics that will either harm or grow their business. Associates who directly do business with builders are just as passionate about “housers.” There are quite a few associates that have services or products that are for both builder and associate use. If it affects builders it will affect associates. If it affects both builder and associate it will affect those “indirect” associates as well. The passion of the building industry is the passion of earning a living; establishing a better way of life and having that living help provide men, women and children with shelter. Food, clothing and shelter are the three most needed necessities in life. The home building and remodeling industry is a noble industry. It builds quality shelter and improves later on that shelter. Most fond memories come from your home, either growing up or later in life. Not only does building create shelter, it helps provide the structure for memories.

If having a career and knowing what you do contributes to providing shelter and the memory making process doesn’t make you feel like you are doing something special, it should. That’s where your personal passion and advocacy passion blend to form the industry passion. Having that passion within you can give you more clarity to how you can maximize your HBA investment.

What steps can you take to become more engaged in the political arena? Start by investing financially in the political process. No, a second mortgage is not needed but something as little as $3 a week can have you investing in the process. Attending a committee that discusses proposed legislation can give you valuable insight to where your state or nation’s capitol may be heading with your income. Attending a legislative day with your HBA is a great way to talk with legislators and let them know how the proposed bill, or bills, may affect you. Politicians understand the power of passion and how that passion can rally potential “obstacles” or “easier path” to becoming elected or re-elected.

I can get into the specifics on how the process structurally works but it would be best for you to speak to your local or state president/executive officer and find the path that they have decided is best.

The only way you can know for sure is by having a little passion for continuing to earn a living in this industry.

Of course once you have checked your personal politics at the door on the way in.

Next week’s blog will focus on selling to builders by UTILIZING the HBA.

Submitted by: Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP
2011 NAHB Associate Members Committee Chair
Director of Trade Association Relations, ProBuild