1,000-plus Realtors traveled to Tallahassee this week and talked to lawmakers about Fla. issues, such as affordable housing, water quality, insurance and more.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – More than a thousand Realtors® descended upon Florida’s capital March 29-31 to be a part of the legislative process and make their voices heard on issues that matter to their profession.
The gathering, known as Great American Realtor Days (GARD), takes place each year during Florida’s annual legislative session. Typically a three-day event, GARD consists of dozens of hill visits with lawmakers and legislative briefings for different member groups. It also includes a street party next to the Capitol building where members can gather, dance and eat, as they mingle with legislators and showcase the power of the Realtor voice.
“Our members always look forward to GARD each year because it gives them a chance to get directly involved in Florida’s legislative process,” says Mike McGraw, 2023 Florida Realtors® president. “This year felt extra special though because of the visit of NAR’s Riding with the Brand motorcoach and the huge affordable housing victory we were able to celebrate.”
Members attending GARD this year got a special treat as the National Association of Realtors®’ (NAR) “Riding with the Brand” motorcoach stopped by Tallahassee on its tour of the nation. For the tour, NAR partnered with state Realtors associations across the country to host Riding with the Brand events, which showcase the value of Realtors and Realtors associations, plus the importance of real estate and Realtors to local communities.
To help promote Realtor pride, attendees were handed blue block Realtor “R” shirts as they took over Adams Street in downtown Tallahassee. The historic street sits in the shadow of the Capitol building, and the city closes a block of it each year during GARD for Realtors to unwind after their hill visits and share experiences with each other. This year. however, members took over two blocks instead of one to be able to house the motorcoach and all the fun activities that came with it. The result: A sea of people in Realtor blue played cornhole, took pictures, shook hands with lawmakers and danced the night away.
The timing of the 2023 GARD event could not have been better. It coincided with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signing into law the Live Local Act, one of Florida’s most far-reaching and substantial housing bills. Realtors in Florida have advocated for something like this for more than three decades to help alleviate a growing housing crisis. DeSantis signed the bill into law on the first day of GARD, and Florida Realtors President McGraw was invited to attend and speak during the signing ceremony.
“I can’t stress enough how amazing it was to be able to rally around the Realtor brand in the backdrop of such a historic event for our state,” says McGraw. “This bill would never have happened if it wasn’t for the Realtor voice – It made this year’s event all the more special, demonstrating that, as a profession, we are strong, we are influential and, most importantly, we are united in our efforts to bring the dream of homeownership to all.”
© 2023 Florida Realtors®