Pillow Talk – Let it R-I-P

Posted By: Perry Pillow Dimensions Online, Legislative Updates,

Pillow Talk this year explores personal advocacy: the opportunities, importance, and impact of AATC member involvement. Last month, we looked at collective advocacy: our AATC PAC. This month, we will discuss meetings with government officials.

When it comes to advocacy, AATC members need to let it R-I-P. You have to be relational, intentional, and personal.

Advocacy is all about relationships. You have probably heard it is not what you know; it is who you know. Establishing and maintaining strong relationships with elected officials is the key to successful advocacy. Always look for opportunities to broaden your network. Be relational. Get involved in various aspects of communities where you live and work. Get to know the who’s.

Relationships with elected officials are rarely happenstance. AATC members must be intentional about their interaction with elected officials. For example, one of AATC’s long-serving supplier partners took the initiative to have coffee with the state representative whose district includes the supplier’s corporate office. This meeting went so well that the supplier arranged a similar meeting with the state representative whose district covered the supplier’s home. These meetings were simply get-to-know-you conversations.

You can do something similar. Invite a city council member to tour your properties. Ask a school board member to have coffee. Host a fundraiser for a candidate in your home. Elected officials want to meet their constituents and, more importantly, voters. Frequent and effective communication strengthens relationships.

Most importantly, remember that elected officials are just people. Media of all types has made celebrities of elected officials. Yes, we must respect the office, but remember, they want to meet with you. Do not be intimidated. You are the expert on how our industry works. Think of your meeting with an elected official as just another business meeting.

Advocacy tip: meetings with elected officials usually last less than 20 minutes. Be prepared. Be precise. And be sure to give them their time back. Time is an elected official’s most valuable commodity. If you have been allotted a 20-minute meeting with the mayor, a state representative, or a member of Congress and you have covered your points in 15 minutes, give them their 5 minutes back.

MAY 6TH MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS - More than 100 candidates filed to run for mayor, city council, or school board in Tarrant County for the May 6th elections. AATC PAC has endorsed the following candidates:

Mayor, Jim Ross
District 3, Nikki Hunter
District 4, Andy Piel

Fort Worth:
Mayor, Mattie Parker
District 4, Charles Lauersdorf
District 5, Gyna Bivens
District 10, Alan Blaylock

Place 5, Malissa Minucci*

*Malissa Minucci is an AATC member and AATC Leadership Lyceum graduate.

Every Fort Worth city council member, including Mayor Parker, is up for re-election. Although this year’s election will include two additional Fort Worth city council seats, Fort Worth will expand from eight to ten single-member districts. Fort Worth District 7 council member Leonard Firestone is not seeking re-election; therefore, Fort Worth will have at least three new council members.

Mayor Jim Ross is seeking re-election in Arlington, as are AATC-friendly incumbent council members Hunter, Piel, and Boxhall. As always, AATC has proactively developed good relationships with several potential Fort Worth & Arlington city council candidates.

CONTRIBUTE TO THE AATC PAC – AATC’s advocacy efforts depend on all our members doing their part to support candidates that align with AATC’s interests financially. Please contribute to the AATC PAC by clicking on the following link: https://form.jotform.com/220464310148143

TEXAS LEGISLATURE SESSION UPDATE – The 140-day Texas Legislature ends Monday, May 29th. TAA’s affirmative, industry-related legislation priorities regarding the eviction process, city fees, and property taxes are moving toward enactment. TAA’s top priority is to prevent adverse industry-related legislation from becoming law. Big thanks to AATC members Candy Maxey, Greystar, and Cayce Coon, Madera, who serve on the TAA’s Executive Committee; and to John Gillespie, WAK, and Patty Utley, Portico, who serve on the TAA Legislative Committee. John Gillespie also serves on the TAA Minute Man Committee, which directs TAA staff on time-sensitive legislative issues.

NAA RESIDENT SCREENING SURVEY – The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have issued a request for information (RFI) on resident screening practices as part of the White House Blueprint for a Renter’s Bill of Rights. NAA needs your help.

Please submit your screening stories to NAA.

It can sometimes be difficult finding a starting point; here are some ideas that might help:

  • Why resident screening is important to keeping costs in check and increasing affordability
  • Why eviction history screening is vital in evaluating a prospective resident to mitigate future issues with nonpayment of rent and litigating an eviction.
  • How crimes against employees or residents or significant property damage are avoided or prevented if a screening report was not legally blocked.
  • Why screening is critical to reducing the risk of “synthetic fraud” by uncovering a synthetically established identity that was not the actual prospective resident.
  • The legitimate business needs for application fees.
  • Why you should not have to accept the first qualifying applicant (i.e., “First-in-Time” laws).
  • Why screening an applicant’s sources of income is critical to ensure they can pay their rent consistently and on time.

How to Share Your Screening Stories with NAA: Once you have your screening story ready to share, you can send it to us by following the prompts at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/naastories.

Perry Pillow is AATC’s Director of Government Affairs. For more information, contact Perry at
ppillow@aatcnet.org or call 817-701-6353