Editor’s note: With 1 million Realtors in the U.S. backed by a trade association with one of the largest Political Action Committees, there’s no doubt that real estate has a powerful political voice in this country. In this three-part series, we caught up with a variety of these voices to find out what issues they care about and why. (See Part 1: Republican Realtors and Part 2: The Democrats of real estate.)
Real estate practitioners have long been active in politics, drawing upon some of the same skills that have made them successful in their businesses. Many have been Republicans, fulfilling the image of real estate and its related finance industries as being Republican territory. But not all. In fact, some realty pros break the stereotype altogether.
Real estate broker, retired
Political party: Libertarian
Langkraehr had always enjoyed working on political campaigns, but didn’t fit in with either of the two major political parties. Then, about 10 years ago, he was helping an unaffiliated sheriff’s candidate to get on the ballot and he sought advice from the Libertarian party. Party staffers sent him information on how to get a non-Democrat or Republican candidate onto the ballot. They also sent him a political quiz.
He answered the questions about his political beliefs, totaled up his answers and learned he was likely a Libertarian. He researched the party more and found that his views on wanting less government and more personal freedom matched well with the Libertarian party stance. He got involved and didn’t look back. He’s now running as the Libertarian candidate for governor of Missouri.
Although his political leanings have been shaped primarily by his personal beliefs, he sees a connection between his politics and his previous career in real estate. If the government took far less money than it does now, as Libertarians favor, people would have more money to spend on houses and communities.
“If we could just get government out of the way, then our free market economy would really blossom,” Langkraehr said.
Mortgage broker, MortgageGreen
Political party: Green
Rondio considers his company, MortgageGreen, apolitical, but he knows that the very premise of it will draw people of particular political leanings. MortgageGreen is a mortgage brokerage that donates 10 percent of its gross profits to a variety of environmental and social causes.
Those likely to use the company will probably identify with Rondio’s desire for “a deep change in life.” That means less stress and materialism, more spirituality, environmentally sustainable policies and curbing global warming. For Rondio, the Green Party fits those beliefs, from both a personal and professional standpoint.
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Rondio, who plans to vote for the Green Party presidential candidate in November, said he believes both the financial sector and politicians must do more to make money available for innovations such as energy-efficient houses. He’d also like to see the groups his company supports be able to increase their political clout.
“It’s imperative for me that politics support sustainability,” Rondio said.
Systems administrator, North San Diego County Assn. of Realtors
San Diego County, Calif.
Political party: None
Dooley hasn’t attached himself to a political party, but said he’d opt for Libertarian if he was forced to choose. Instead, he aligns himself with those Americans who are disappointed in current leadership.
In terms of housing issues and politics, Dooley is disturbed by what he refers to as the polarization of society. The working- and middle-class people of his housing market are continually being priced out of homes.
Dooley also worries that attention that’s been given to affordable housing has only resulted in “unique” financing opportunities for those who otherwise couldn’t afford homes. In the future though, that type of financing may have repercussions if housing markets turn south.
Dooley said he will head to the polls this fall for sure, but kept the name of the candidate who gets his vote to himself.
Diane Beall Templin
Lawyer, businesswoman, Realtor
Political party: American Independent
Templin was attending bible college in 1992 when she had a political epiphany. Bill Clinton, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer had been elected to office, and Templin said she was appalled that they won office.
“I remember saying, ‘How can people be so against the Founding Fathers’ way of doing things.’ I remember saying, ‘I want to stand up and run. I want to make a difference.’ I dedicated myself to run to give people a choice. At that point there weren’t many Constitutionalists running. I believe in all of the Constitutional provisions: pro-life, pro-property rights, pro-America first,” she said. “I would stop the illegal immigrations.”
Templin, an American Independent Party candidate for U.S. Congress, is also a lawyer, a businesswoman and a Realtor. The American Independent Party is the California affiliate of the Constitution Party. Templin, who lives in Escondido, Calif., is a Constitutionalist and a Christian. She has been nominated as a presidential candidate for the American Party.
Constitutionalists promote the abolition of federal income tax, and favor local control. She supports fundamental rights such as life, liberty and property, and she said she believes that there is “significant infringement by the federal government and the state government on people’s rights to own property. It has become so costly to buy and to build and to own (a home).”
Templin, who became a real estate broker in 2003, was a candidate in last year’s much-publicized California recall election of Gov. Gray Davis. She also was a candidate for state attorney general in 1998 and 2002, a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2000, a presidential candidate in 1996, and a state Assembly candidate in 1994. She served as planning commissioner for the city of San Marcos, Calif., from 1979-80.
Real estate broker, agent, Realty Consultants
Political Party: Libertarian
Gilad believes the war in Iraq could ultimately become a housing issue, as the costs of the war may translate to higher interest rates and inflation.
A Libertarian, Gilad said he arrived at his political views via Vietnam. After returning from service in Vietnam, he said he realized that he could have died “for absolutely no reason.” Also, he said, he grew to understand that the country was set up on individual freedoms, but “we’re in mob rule now.”
Oregon has strict land-use requirements, he said. And while he is not active in politics, Gilad said he is a supporter of property rights. “This is a very, very oppressive state for land use,” he said. And strict land-use controls can lead to increases in home prices.
Gilad, who received his broker’s license in 1969, represents buyers in the Eugene area. Born in Swan Lake, N.Y., Gilad is a member of the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents. He has a law degree and worked as a lawyer from 1990-94, he has worked as a custom-home builder, and he has a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering.
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