Last week, nearly 50 members and staff of Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) stood with industry professionals from every state at the base of the Washington Monument to demonstrate their commitment to preserving access to homeownership and robust real estate investment. At the Rally to Protect the American Dream on Thursday, May 17, an estimated 15,000 REALTORS®, affiliate services and invited members of Congress advocated for better access to affordable financing, reform of the secondary mortgage market, improved liquidity in residential and commercial lending and preservation of the tax benefits associated with homeownership.

“REALTORS® know that home- ownership is an investment in our collective futures, and we’re here today to protect the American dream of homeownership,” National Association of REALTORS® President and broker-owner of Miami-based Veissi & Associates Inc., Moe Veissi said. “Homeownership and investment in real estate impacts families, communities, small businesses and the nation’s economy in a very meaningful way. Today, we’re proud to be showing the country that homeownership matters.”
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) addressed a sea of blue at the event. “[Homeownership] is the biggest and most important investment that the average American family makes, and that’s why we should remain focused on the value of the housing market and the important role it plays in our country,” Sen. Isakson said. “It is my hope that this rally encourages Congress and the President to move forward with policies that are supportive of housing, which is vital to job creation and the recovery of our economy.”
Rep. Hoyer commended NAR for keeping homeownership at front-and-center in economic recovery efforts. “Stabilizing the housing market remains a central issue for Democrats, who understand we will not have robust economic growth without a vibrant housing market and that access to homeownership remains a critical component of the American dream,” he said.
CAAR President and Associate Broker at Montague Miller & Co. Brad Conner, GRI, ABR, SFR, was among the leadership team in Washington for the weeklong NAR Midyear legislative event to meet with members of Congress, federal regulators and industry experts to address pressing real estate issues and public policies in support of private property rights, homeownership and housing issues. Conner also attended the rally. “It was great to see the turnout from CAAR. We appreciate the commitment of our members who boarded our bus at 5:30 a.m. bound for D.C. It was an honor to stand with you in partnership to fight for the American Dream of homeownership and private property rights.”
Pat Jensen, CAAR past president and broker manager at Better Homes & Gardens – Real Estate III, was appreciative of the REALTOR® visit to Rep. Robert Hurt of Virginia’s 5th congressional district. “It was a great rally, and I was really excited to see such good representation from CAAR,” Jensen said. “I was thrilled when so many CAAR rally participants jumped in to provide such a good showing.” It was a proud moment for the 2002 CAAR president, and Jensen expressed her appreciation for members caring enough to participate.
A group of 29 made their way down and back Route 29 via charter bus for the day’s rally. Broker Manager Donna Patton of Better Homes & Gardens – Real Estate III rode the CAAR bus, saying “I was proud to represent not only CAAR and Virginia, but also my business as a REALTOR®. We have a great group of people on the bus, some I knew and some I was fortunate to get to know. It was a fun trip.”
Affiliate member, Peter Cefaratti of PrimeLending, was glad to be on the bus. “The rally was inspiring. I hope we all encourage our clients and the general public to call and write their congressmen and senators to let them know that private ownership of real estate is a BIG DEAL in this country,” Cefaratti commented.
CAAR leadership praised CAAR Public Affairs team for supporting the bus trip. “Neil [Williamson] and Mona [Senatro] and all the CAAR staff, thank you for giving us the opportunity to be part of such a memorable event. You did a great job,” they wrote.
“A huge thanks to everyone at CAAR who made this trip as great and successful as it was,” Patricia Crabtree of Montague Miller & Co. said. “It was awesome being part of 1[5],000 REALTORS® strong, taking a stand for what we believe in and knowing that it does matter. Knowing that we have such fantastic support back home with CAAR also matters, a great deal, and again I thank you for that and a very memorable day!” 
Check out CAAR’s facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/groups/18713063232/) for more pictures from the event.