In late January, hundreds of BOMA members gathered together in Washington, D.C. to take part in BOMA International’s 2018 National Issues Conference (NIC). NIC occurs every other year as part of the Winter Business Meeting, and it gives BOMA members the opportunity to meet face-to-face with their elected officials in Congress. A strong voice on Capitol Hill is key to protecting the commercial real estate industry and the livelihoods of BOMA members, and these meetings allow BOMA members to develop the deep relationships necessary to effect real change in Washington. Hill visits also are a great opportunity for legislators and their congressional staffs to hear firsthand from constituents who are directly affected by legislation that impacts the commercial real estate industry.
This year, BOMA members were successful in securing more than 200 appointments with lawmakers to discuss key issues. During these appointments, members spoke specifically about BOMA’s top three legislative priorities for 2018: ADA lawsuit reform, infrastructure investment and preserving ENERGY STAR®.
Armed with new resources, including one-page summaries of each legislative priority and customized legislator biographies tailored specifically for each congressional meeting, BOMA members were well-prepared for meaningful interactions with their elected officials. In their meetings, members asked legislators to consider co-sponsoring bill H.R. 620, the ADA Education and Reform Act, and explained why ENERGY STAR and its Portfolio Manager® tool make financial sense for building owners. Shortly after these visits, H.R. 620 passed the House of Representatives with a bipartisan vote of 225-192, showing the power of BOMA’s grassroots advocacy efforts. "The leave-behinds [created by BOMA International] gave us more credibility than we would have had on our own," commented Jennifer Root, president of BOMA/Tulsa, after her Hill visits. "This experience turned my small spark of interest in government affairs into a flame where I want to learn more, do more and participate more. This will not be my last trip [to Capitol Hill]."
H.R. 620 passed the House of Representatives with a bipartisan vote of 225-192, showing the power of BOMA’s grassroots advocacy efforts.
BOMA International will continue to develop new resources to aid with congressional meetings—whether on Capitol Hill or at a local district office—to help make the meetings as focused and impactful as possible. It is important for BOMA members to continue to be engaged with advocacy activities and cultivate and enhance relationships with congressional staff. These relationships are a critical piece of BOMA’s advocacy efforts and a way for all members to get involved in protecting the industry.
BOMAPAC BREAKS RECORDS
BOMA International’s Political Action Committee (BOMAPAC) achieved record success at this year’s Winter Business Meeting & National Issues Conference, raising more than $11,000. BOMA members in attendance contributed to BOMAPAC for a chance to win one of two high-tech raffle prizes: a Sonos wireless sound system or a Roomba autonomous vacuum cleaner. Gold- or Platinum-level BOMAPAC members also were invited to an exclusive reception honoring BOMA International Immediate Former Chair Brian Harnetiaux.
BOMAPAC is a vital tool for federal advocacy work and allows BOMA International to support members of Congress who have demonstrated a commitment to commercial real estate’s priorities. This early success puts BOMAPAC on strong financial footing at the start of 2018. With the help and support of each BOMA member and local association—including BOMA/Hawaii, which already has committed to raising $1,000 in 2018—the year-end BOMAPAC goal of $75,000 is well within reach.
This article was originally published in the March/April 2018 issue of BOMA Magazine.