Four members of the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors® (PAR) were inducted into the National Realtors® Political Action Committee (RPAC) Hall of Fame yesterday at the National Association of Realtors® Legislative Meetings in Washington, D.C.
PAR Past President Bette McTamney (second from left) and Realtor® Tom Skiffington (at far right) are new inductees, making lifetime investments of more than $25,000 to RPAC. Current Hall of Fame members Jim Helsel (at left) and Ellen Renish (third from left), both of whom are PAR past presidents, were recognized for achieving a new level of investing at more than $50,000.
“I want to congratulate and commend the extraordinary commitment that these four Realtors® have demonstrated to RPAC throughout their distinguished careers,” said PAR President Ron Croushore, also a NAR RPAC Hall of Fame member. “It is an example of how individual Realtors® work together to make a difference in the industry and the legislative arena.”
McTamney, a member of the Montgomery County Association of Realtors® (MCAR), began investing in RPAC in 1991 after being urged to do so. “A very good friend, the late Angelo Guerra, asked me to write a check to RPAC,” McTamney recalls. “I didn’t know what RPAC was but I found out pretty quickly.” She said Guerra, who was also a member of the NAR RPAC Hall of Fame, was a strong RPAC advocate.
“He said RPAC gives Realtors® a voice in legislation and that politics is a large part of our everyday business. He explained that as Realtors®, we should know the candidates who help the real estate industry. We should know issues and strive to make a difference at the local, state and national levels,” she added. “I’ve learned that together our voice is stronger and our Realtor® Party is one that is noticed at all times! So I’ve never stopped giving back to an organization that gives so much for us.”
An RPAC investor for more than 20 years, Skiffington, said, “I think it’s important to get involved in legislative advocacy. A lot of legislation is well intended but people don’t realize the negative effects it would have on private property rights.
“Homeownership is still the American dream and we need to work to protect those rights for our citizens,” Skiffington, an MCAR member added. “You can’t sit back and think others will do the job, all Realtors® need to be involved in fighting for those rights. And RPAC helps give us a voice in this battle.”
Helsel, a past NAR treasurer and a third-generation Realtor®, said his father impressed upon him the importance of RPAC. “I learned very early in my real estate career about the importance of RPAC,” he said. “In fact, immediately after my first settlement in 1976, my father asked for a check equaling $99. He explained to me that protecting private property rights as well as our profession is good for everyone – and not just the Realtors® – and I’ve never forgotten that lesson.”
“This industry has been good to me,” Helsel, a member of the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors®, added. “Thanks to RPAC, it’s good to everyone involved including Realtors®, clients and customers. I urge Realtors® to support RPAC for the sake of our collective future. It’s our insurance that we’ll be successful now and in the future.”
“I discovered the importance of RPAC to our profession early in my career,” Renish, also a member of MCAR, said. “I’m grateful to a fellow Realtor® who told me how my investment in RPAC was a small price to pay to ensure the future of the real estate industry. Forty years later, I can honestly say that it’s proven to be the best investment I’ve ever made to support all real estate professionals and my own personal career.
Renish added, “I’m a huge proponent of RPAC. My local association members refer to me affectionately as the RPAC Queen – a title I’m proud to have!”