With the 116th Congress convening on January 3, the 86th State Legislature convening on January 8, local elections on May 4, and City of Houston elections on November 5, 2019 will be a busy year for the Government Affairs Team.  We are sure to keep our department and volunteers ready for deployment!

At the state level, we will see some new faces at the capitol this session. Gina Calanni, published author, will be representing House District 132 after defeating Rep. Mike Schofield by 113 votes. Jon E. Rosenthal, mechanical engineer, will replace Rep. Gary Elkins for District 135. The Governmental Affairs team is building relationships with these newly-elected leaders as well as continuing to build on our strong relationships with returning leadership. Representative Dennis Bonnen, an HAR recommended candidate, is poised to be elected as the new Speaker of the House following Rep. Joe Strauss’ resignation.

Prefiling began the first Monday after the general election, November 12 at 8 a.m. Since bills are filed sequentially, many legislators and their aides wait outside the filing office in order to secure low bill numbers. Legislators may file bills until Friday, March 8, the deadline for unrestricted filing of bills and joint resolutions other than local bills, emergency appropriations, and emergency matters submitted by Governor Abbott.

REALTOR® Day at the Texas Capitol is scheduled for Tuesday, March 26. This special day gives Texas REALTORS® an opportunity to see first-hand the innerworkings of their state government and to engage with their state elected officials on REALTOR® issues. Keep a look out for information about buses to travel to Austin to make it convenient for our members to participate in this biennial event.

In May, REALTORS® from all fifty states and U. S. Territories will travel to Washington, D.C. to visit with their federal elected officials. Mark your calendars for May 15 and 16 to network with your Realtor colleagues and to participate in meetings with your U. S. Senators and Representatives.  We’ll visit with three newly-elected Representatives from Harris County, Congresswomen Lizzie Fletcher and Sylvia Garcia, and Congressman Dan Crenshaw in addition to Representatives Kevin Brady, Al Green, Randy Weber, Sheila Jackson Lee, Michael McCaul, Pete Olson, and Brian Babin.

At the local level, looking ahead are municipal elections for Pasadena, Pearland, and Sugar Land which will be held on Saturday, May 4. Elections will be held on Tuesday, November 5, for the City of Houston, The Woodlands Township, and Missouri City.

Volunteers serving on the Political Affairs Advisory Group and the Bay Area, Fort Bend County, and Montgomery County Political Affairs Advisory Leadership will conduct candidate interviews and make recommendations for the approval of the HAR Board of Directors as well as GOTV efforts to help elect REALTOR-friendly candidates who will best serve the real estate industry.  We couldn’t do our jobs without them, and we appreciate their dedication and service to HAR’s diverse membership.

Best wishes to a successful and rewarding 2019!