EXp Realty agent Mike Doyle is running for Pennsylvania House of Representatives District 170 this November, and in addition to advocating for healthcare, civil rights, education and homeownership, he plans to use his platform to fight an issue he once considered a personal struggle: opioid addiction.

Mike Doyle

Doyle has been forthcoming about his past battling opioid and alcohol addiction, using that experience to fuel his fight against this widespread problem. Opioid addiction affects all income levels — it does not discriminate, he said.

Since becoming an agent in 2006, Doyle has worked in one independent brokerage and a number of franchised brokerages, including Keller Williams from 2014 to 2016. In August 2017, he made the move to eXp Realty and decided to run for state representative in January 2018.

“As a Realtor, I had a decision last year to stay silent and keep on counting the money I made from selling real estate, or take a stand and fight against issues that affect us all,” Doyle told Inman. “One of the reasons why I ran was to tell other people who suffered from alcoholism and addictions that there was no shame about your past.”

And opioids aren’t a problem that stops with the individual — drug abuse has increasingly become a real estate issue as opioid addicts pose as potential homebuyers, scheduling home tours in the hope of gaining access to medicine cabinets.

The effects of this problem on neighborhoods and real estate make the issue that much more important for Doyle, who is planning to continue his role as a Realtor with the support of his team even if he wins the election. He believes his real estate career has given him the thick skin necessary for politics, which is fortunate as his Republican opponents have already come at him with a “negative slant” about his past.

He remains unfazed.

“Being in real estate has primed me for something like this,” he told Inman. “You do swim with the sharks and get beat up, [but] your armor gets stronger every time.”

If his approach to being a state representative is anything like his approach to real estate, it seems Doyle will accomplish great things should he win. He participated in the Agent Leadership Council for two years at Keller Williams; in 2014 he was a Keller Williams Gold Award winner for his productivity, then a Double Gold Award winner in 2015 to 2016.

Mike Doyle, third from left, volunteering in Houston after Hurricane Harvey.

“I would say my approach is geared towards customer service, [teamwork] and helping first-time homebuyers,” said Doyle, who since 2014 has been affiliated with Homes for Heroes, a network of real estate professionals, mortgage bankers and title companies who offer savings to community heroes — firefighters, military (active, reserve and veterans), law enforcement, EMS, healthcare professionals and teachers — when they buy or sell a home.

Mike Doyle volunteering in Houston after Hurricane Harvey.

With his State Representative hat on, Doyle would like to see regulation of property wholesaling, which he believes is exploiting the weak in Philadelphia. People display signs and send letters saying: “I’ll buy your house for cash and settle in three days,” he explained.

Doyle sees this as “taking advantage” of those unfamiliar with how real estate transactions work. His solution? Create a policy that has people consult with a Realtor first.

Doyle would also like to see more continued education and advocacy for first-time buyers — the limited online classes currently made available by grant agencies simply aren’t enough, he says.

The Realtor is an advocate of Medicaid for all, and he firmly believes it would be in the interest of other real estate agents to back this too, as “health care costs are astronomical in the real estate community.”

Doyle knows agents who pay over $12,000 a year for their family’s health care. “That is way too much money — $1,000 a month for healthcare is too much,” he said.

The aspiring politician, who has surrounded himself with advisers who would like to see the 170th District flip to Democratic, has come to his own conclusions about the polarization in our country right now:

“Over the last year, I have realized it really doesn’t help to admonish people [by saying], ‘You voted for Trump; you are an idiot.’ We should be bringing people together. I think we have to move past the dialogue that is so poisonous between people and rather look at what’s going to help you at the end of the day.”

Many people tell him he is crazy for going into politics — that he will lose real estate business as a result. To the naysayers, he says, “People shouldn’t be afraid to express their opinions.”

He likes Gary Vaynerchuk‘s advice: “Be the one agent in your market that nobody else is like.”

“I am an unabashed progressive,” Doyle said. “I guess either people will want to work with me or not.”

Email Gill South

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