I never thought it was necessary or good business policy to publically state my political views in written form (as a company). I've never been afraid to talk about them and I'm not one to avoid discussing religion either. I think any topic that ignites such passion in people makes for an interesting and many times enlightening discussion. But to write about it and make a public statement? I haven't found that in any of my business books. Yet here I am, weeks into a heated political battle, publically stating something that is very important to me and to the others in our company. I'm writing this letter because many of you care and want to know where we stand in light of today's political climate (and if you don't, feel free to stop reading).
We are a small company but a small company on purpose. All of the agents that work with us share the same values. Our values are more important to us than how many transactions we close each month. The agents in our company care a lot, are actively engaged in our community, in politics (some more than others) and are naturally outspoken about issues they are passionate about.
In addition to our environmental values, which have become a strong core in our business and something we promote on a daily basis, we also believe in public education. We support our schools and we know that good schools mean a lot for our community, for the future of our children and our planet. Good schools mean a lot for neighborhoods too. When we meet buyer and seller clients that are looking to move and are specific about the school districts that they want to move to it is again confirmed that good schools are crucial to sustainable neighborhoods. We support teachers and we support unions. We support the UW and value what it brings to Madison. We believe in health care for all. We believe that all people should be treated with respect no matter what how much money they make, the color of their skin, how they vote or their favorite food.
Quality of life is what makes Madison desirable. Take that away and what does that leave us with? So we are fighting and we are standing up because we are passionate about the city we live in, the people that live in it and the quality of life it offers us. Everyone is affected by what is happening right now. Everyone will feel it whether we are union workers or not. In real estate we will feel it because our clients won't be able to move, they won't have the salary to support a move. They may not be able to pay their mortgage and we'll have more foreclosures and distressed properties to deal with. Those are hard transactions for everyone. They are horribly sad. If our schools suffer and we don't have a vibrant community to sell we'll have fewer relocation clients.
And in our personal lives we will feel it. This is what I want to stress. Not one of our agents has contributed to the Realtors PAC because none of us believe in voting on single issue policy like real estate. When we vote for a candidate, when we help support a candidate it is because we agree with many issues that a candidate stands for. For me personally, education and environmental issues trump estate and landowner issues. Health care and immigration issues trump property rights issues. I believe we can have an influence on real estate issues with whoever is in office, but I will not vote on those narrow issues alone.
I'm not proud that I can't contribute. It is a clear indication that I am part of an association that doesn't share my values. I would like to see the WI Realtors Association take a long hard look at why they choose to endorse and support candidates on behalf of the whole association when many members do not agree. But that is a post for another day. This is about who we are, what we stand for and what we care about. And because many of you have questioned that about us (as members of the WRA) and because we feel confident in where we stand, we hope this letter has clarified all of that and more!
In Solidarity, Sara Alvarado, Carlos Alvarado, Kathryn Wunnicke, Julie Campbell, Darcy Haber and Robert Grether