PAR honors retiring chief lobbyist

By Kelly Leighton | Sept. 19, 2019 | 3 min. read

Director of Public Policy and Political Affairs for the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors® Derenda Updegrave was honored during a reception Tuesday night in Harrisburg on her upcoming retirement.

Updegrave announced earlier this year that she plans to retire after more than 20 years as PAR’s chief lobbyist, representing the association’s 35,000 members at the state Capitol.

Several members of the Pennsylvania legislature were on hand to celebrate with Updegrave, and former state Rep. Mario J. Civera Jr., a Republican from Delaware County who served in the state legislature from 1980 to 2010, spoke briefly of their time working together. “You meet people in life, you meet a lot of them, but there are only a few you remember clearly. Derenda was a force. You made history with her. This organization, I couldn’t be prouder of, to go out and say to people what you are about. Not only are you about yourself, you’re about the consumer. You always had their best interest,” said Civera.

“She has been at the forefront of advocating on your behalf,” added PAR CEO Mike McGee. “If you look at her direct impact on how you conduct business, in some cases, she was the sharp end of the stick when she didn’t want to be. But that was the message, that was the policy that you directed her to carry and she carried it very effectively and forcefully on your behalf. Her success is attributed to her ability to build relationships, not just with the legislature, but with our own members, among the staff members and build that comradery and be able to get things done.”

During her tenure at PAR, Updegrave encouraged the passing of more than 15 pieces of real estate-related legislation and has supported Realtor® members who have sought to achieve elected offices. She has been a staunch advocate in protecting private property rights and homeownership, as well as defending the rights of Realtors® conducting business in Pennsylvania.

Under her leadership, PAR formed the Real Estate Caucus, which provides an opportunity for Realtor® leadership and legislators to have an open dialogue and work on legislation to protect homeownership. Updegrave has also supervised the growth of the Realtors® Political Action Committee and helped to establish Keystone Analytics®, an integral part of the association’s political activities.

“I am so blessed to have been with you for 22 years. Every minute has been a pleasure with you. I have grown with you. I love your issues. You are family and that is what I am going to miss the most,” said Updegrave.

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