Tyler McKenzie installed as 2015 president of Seattle King County REALTORS®
"Without REALTOR® Vigilance, Where Would We Be?"
"You help fulfill a fundamental need of every American family-that of shelter," Tyler McKenzie told his colleagues during remarks following his installation as 2015 president of SEATTLE King County REALTORS®.
During a sold-out banquet that also recognized members' special achievements during 2014, McKenzie, a managing broker at John L. Scott Real Estate in Seattle, stated, "It is with perspective that I accept with the deepest appreciation and honor this opportunity to be of service to you."
As he reflected on his path to the presidency, McKenzie credited several individuals who influenced his involvement in SKCR, starting with Karen Lavallee, a past president.
"I invited Karen Lavallee to install me this year, because of her mentorship," McKenzie told the audience, adding, "Without her inspiration and guidance, I wouldn't be standing here tonight."
He recounted a time years ago when he was in her office "waving my annual Realtor dues bill, asking why I needed to be a member." After smiling knowingly, she invited him to sit, and then proceeded to share her experience as SKCR's 1991 president.
"She explained that giving back to our profession and association served only to better her knowledge and skills." Furthermore, he recalled, "she said her business had never thrived so much as it did when she served as a volunteer," and suggested calling the association to ask about volunteering. "I did-and I haven't looked back," he reported.
McKenzie also singled out Steve Brown, 2014 president of the National Association of Realtors. He credited Brown with shaping his understanding and appreciation of the roles Realtors play. During what McKenzie described was a spirited dinner conversation, he asked Brown to discuss the experience he enjoyed most as president.
Without hesitation, Brown said being reminded of how important the work we do really is, and how much that work truly is in the national interest.
After much thought, McKenzie said he came to a clear understanding of what Brown meant. In McKenzie's words:
- Whether you write a purchase and sale agreement, list a property for sale, or originate a loan you help fulfill a fundamental need of every American family - that of shelter. Each of those acts supports that need and underscores the fundamental right to own property.
- REALTORS®, and our partners in the housing industry, promote this right every day. Our communities are built upon home ownership. Without our vigilance, where would we be?
- Ask yourselves the bigger question: "How important is an individual's right to property ownership"? To me, the answer is very simple. That right lays the foundation for a functioning, civil society. It can only exist where the rule of law exists.
- Absent the rule of law, there are no guarantees that property rights may remain intact. Your right to own property correlates directly to someone else's-an individual, legal entity or government agency's-right or ability to take it away.
McKenzie then cited a number of challenges Realtors will face during 2015 at the local, state and national levels. Among two he noted were:
- Several of King County's 39 municipalities are considering raising B&O taxes and other legislation that could be detrimental to members and small business owners.
- Various proposals Seattle's City Council is considering, including one that would impose a low income housing linkage fee for new development, another that would require point of sale energy audits, and the challenge of creating more housing options in an urban environment.
McKenzie also commented on Seattle's forthcoming change affecting elections. Starting this year, city council members will be elected by districts. Other items that concern him are the middle class being "priced out of our city," and, at the state level, "the perennial conversation about a sales tax on our services."
"Realtors have an opportunity to engage candidates at a grassroots level and effect real policy change," McKenzie reminded his fellow members. "What we do is really important," he emphasized. "Without us there is no trade organization protecting property rights. There is no association protecting our ability to earn a worthy living. There is no association to ensure how we earn that living is also ethical and based on common, core principles of business practice. We are the gatekeepers."
SKCR's new president believes with every buyer put in a home, a thread is woven into the fabric of our communities. "Our job is to ensure these threads do not unravel," he emphasized.