By Amber Burton Alfred | After a 25-year career at HAR, Dana Kervin, HAR’s Director of Governmental Affairs and Chief Political Strategist, said her final goodbyes as she announced her retirement. Her retirement announcement was bittersweet as she was a pillar of the organization. Whether it has been historic property preservation or the high-density ordinance, Dana has been there to represent HAR and our members and helped to solidify HAR’s reputation as one of the most respected professional organizations for politics in the region.
Over the past two decades, both HAR’s membership and the population in our region have grown exponentially. Growth creates the need for change. Every department at HAR works tirelessly to ensure we are adapting and remaining trailblazers in the real estate industry. In that same vein, the HAR Governmental Affairs and Political Affairs Departments have undergone an expansion and reconstruction. Karen Driscoll, who currently serves as Director of TREPAC, will now serve as Director of Political Affairs and TREPAC. In this role she will continue to oversee all of the TREPAC efforts but will also organize and conduct the candidate screenings for HAR’s recommended candidates. This will more closely align the fundraising with the disbursement of those funds.
I will now serve as Director of Governmental Affairs and Advocacy. In this role I will advocate on behalf of our REALTOR® members and homeowners when dealing with elected officials regarding the various ordinances and laws under consideration and will identify the issues on which we should focus. While I am already a registered lobbyist for HAR with the City of Houston and the State of Texas, this extends my responsibilities and allows me to focus on developing a more aggressive advocacy campaign to keep up with the constantly changing political environment.
While Karen and I are new to these roles, we are not to the HAR organization. Dana Kervin hired both Karen and myself, and we are both honored to continue the legacy she created, while blazing our own trail to ensure that HAR remains one of the most respected governmental affairs programs in our region – if not beyond.
Get to know Amber and Karen in their new roles as they continue to work for you!
Amber has a 20-year background in governmental affairs, grassroots advocacy and community relations. Amber joined HAR in 2016 and has served as the HAR Governmental Affairs Advisor since that time. Amber works with elected officials, community stakeholders and other business coalitions to coordinate policy and legislative efforts at the local, state and federal level to advocate for the real estate industry and homeowners. Before joining HAR, she received her Juris Doctorate from South Texas College of Law-Houston. After law school, Amber worked with several large law firms and then started a political and business consultancy where she successfully managed numerous political and issue campaigns. Prior to law school, she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Texas State University.
Karen has been working at HAR since 2001 when she was hired as Governmental Affairs Coordinator after graduating from Trinity University with a Bachelor of Science degree in International Business & Management. She has worked on all aspects of HAR governmental affairs including candidate interviews, get out the vote efforts, issues recommendations and political fundraising. Since taking over the TREPAC Coordinator position in 2005, Karen has taken a program of 10 volunteers raising approximately $350,000 per year to a program of more than 40 volunteers and raising more than $1 million per year, an achievement which she has accomplished the past three years in a row. She is the only local REALTOR® association staff person in the country to raise $1 million in a single year for the PAC. She was promoted to Director of TREPAC in 2010 and has raised a total of more than $10 million during her career with HAR.