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Tom Wiener, 2018 President of BATC Housing First Minnesota
Our strategic plan calls for BATC-Housing First Minnesota to collaborate with business associations and chambers to advance the cause of our industry. It’s important to set this as a specific objective because working in coalitions can be difficult. Fortunately for our Association, the coalition work we’ve been engaged in is producing powerful results.
I want to visit with you about three of these collaborative efforts that are making BATC-Housing First Minnesota stronger, and more importantly, helping to elevate our industry so our state understands its indispensability.
HOUSING DAY AT THE CAPITOL AND MORE
As a REALTOR, builder and remodeler, I’m particularly proud of our partnership with the Minnesota Association of REALTORS. Together, we decided to hold a powerful day on the hill that would showcase the importance of home ownership to Minnesota. More than 600 participated in our first-ever event, making it one of the largest days on the hill in Minnesota in just its first year. Make sure you mark your calendar for our second annual Housing Day at the Capitol on Wednesday, March 14, 2018.
Not only did we collaborate on a tremendously successful Capitol day, we joined forces to advocate for the Home Ownership Initiative, a package of six legislative proposals to strengthen our industry. Three of the six passed last year, unheard of success in the world of legislative action.
We took our partnership one step further to join forces on Housing Day at the Fair. We’ll once again use this opportunity collaboratively to elevate the importance of housing as we seek to make market-rate affordable housing a top-of-mind cause for Minnesotans.
PROJECT BUILD MINNESOTA
This new effort to address our industry’s workforce challenge grew out of a meeting we called with all construction-related associations more than a year ago. Around that table, residential and commercial, union and nonunion organizations, we agreed that we could do more together than individually. The Builders Group Education Foundation took up the mantle and collectively, several of our organizations formed Project Build Minnesota with a goal of sharing our career and job story throughout Minnesota. Now, we’re spinning PBM off as its own 501c(3) entity, and we are proud to be among its leaders. This innovative effort demonstrates that we can achieve great success when we share a vision and collaborate to make it happen.
One of the major objectives in our modern, comprehensive advocacy program is to elect housing-friendly candidates to the state legislature. As a top three business group in the electoral space, we have risen to become a powerhouse. But it takes huge resources to advance our cause through independent expenditures impacting elections. And so once again, we have turned to collaboration to further our cause. We collaborate with other major business groups in the state such as the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Minnesota Business Partnership, REALTORS and Minnesota Auto Dealers to support business-friendly candidates who are also friends of housing.
These are three important examples of BATC-Housing First Minnesota working in partnership with like-minded organizations to advance our cause.
There are, by the way, many more examples. But what I wanted to stress to you, our members, is that we are good partners in collaboration. We can be counted on for thoughtful guidance, passion, resources and professionalism. So, while coalitions may bring with them challenges, they are essential to our success, and we thank our partners who share the goal of making market-rate housing affordable across Minnesota.