A Tale of Two Tables: The Bank of Springfield Arena and the Illinois State Capitol Building Conference Room 402

After a grand award ceremony recognizing new hall of fame inductees for being RPAC Major Investors as well as new Major Investor honorees, keynote speaker David Axelrod was poised to take the stage. His first Capitol Conference was 48 years ago and since then he has spent most of his professional career in journalism and served as an advisor to former U.S. President Barak Obama. Mainstreet President-elect Tim Ryan was randomly selected to ask a question to keynote speaker David Axelrod and he was ready. In part two of the three-part series you will see direct quotes from speakers as well as Q&A from Mainstreet members. 

Illinois REALTORS® President and current Mainstreet member Michael Gobber walked out into the audience and held the microphone out to Tim Ryan and he asked, “As political strategists how do you persuade lawmakers to see the value in construction of new homes when most would rather raise taxes on preexisting properties to generate higher revenue?” 

David Axelrod acknowledged the importance of the concern Tim raised, thanked him for his question and suggested framing the change with community strength in mind. David replied with, “Try to approach the lawmakers as ambassadors for communities and how the new buildings will be beneficial for creating a stronger community rather than being a favor for the REALTORS®. I am a storyteller; you REALTORS® have a story to tell and that is how you make the need mutual.” 

From the BoS REALTORS® began their trek to the Capitol Building in the heart of downtown Springfield. Whether it was by bus or walking it seemed as if there was a REALTOR® anywhere you looked. The purpose for this hike was to meet with Illinois legislators to talk about the Illinois REALTORS® Scorecard.

Fast forward to the 4th floor of the Illinois State Capitol building. For perspective, the Illinois general assembly was in a live session just a few dooraway from Mainstreet members gathered in room 402. The Illinois REALTORS® Senior Governmental Affairs Director (GAD) accompanying members was Jeff Merrinette representing DuPage and West Cook Counties. We waited patiently for a state representative to join the room and sit at the table to weigh in on the Illinois REALTORS® Scorecard. 

The concept of a “roundtable discussion” is a familiar idea for most if not all people in the room which included Mainstreet President-elect Tim Ryan and Mainstreet CEO John Gormley. REALTORS® attending the Capitol Conference by and large come to the event for this opportunity specifically. Sitting at a table with real life legislators fielding questions about private property rights and homeownership advocacy was a unique moment. “Having a seat at the table,” is another colloquialism commenting on accountability and clout. For REALTORS® attending the Capitol Conference this was that table and they had plenty of chairs filled. 

In the third and final installment of the 2023 Illinois REALTORS® Capitol Conference recap will be why REALTORfrom all over Illinois traveled to the Capitol. Meeting with Illinois Legislature to have their voices heard and have roundtable discussions with those who represent them at the state level. Time for the Main(street) event; stay tuned!