Mar. 06, 2017 by John Bielamowicz, President, Biel Partners LLC

PAC Lobby Day: 85th Texas Legislature

There’s an old saying in politics, that “no man’s life, liberty or property is safe while the Legislature is in session.” That sentiment was surely on the minds of the founding fathers of Texas when they allowed the legislature to meet for only six months every two years. So, with that in mind, The Real Estate Council Political Action Committee made our biennial expedition down I-35 to Austin last week.

We met with our legislators and their staff. We told them the stories about what we do, and how we do it as an industry. We talked about what was going right, what was going wrong, and made ourselves available to them as experts in our respective fields.

When your only tool is a hammer, all the problems start looking like nails. If you’re a doctor, you probably “have a pill for that.” When you’re a legislator trying to do something, you write up a bill, and you try to make it law. While we are generally very proud of our North Texas legislative delegation and our relationships with them, not everything needs a law, and sometimes the legislative ‘solution’ might create something worse than the original problem. While issues like transportation, education and taxes require plenty of heavy lifting and work, there are many issues before the legislature where we’d just prefer them to do nothing. The good news; legislators have lots of creative ways to kill bills, sometimes a slow silent death buried in a committee, and other times, flaming over a cliff at 100 miles an hour on the floor of the House or Senate.

TREC 2017 Lobby

TREC members at Lobby Day

If you’re in the real estate business, you understand it’s a relationship business; politics is just the original relationship business. Through our members, The Real Estate Council has continually put ourselves at the intersection of business and public policy. While the trajectory of the legislature is set even before it began in January, the presence of our members in our legislators’ offices makes a difference, because they know we’re watching what they doing.

Not to sidestep all the good work TREC does on Dallas issues and DISD, Lobby Day is the culmination of what we do in the two-year legislative cycle at the state level. It’s one of the more
rewarding and enjoyable experiences in the PAC as we play a small part in influencing our government.

But it’s surely not all work. A group of us were able to climb to the top of the Capitol dome and look down into the rotunda, and out across Austin. It was an amazing experience to not only have seen the inner workings of the legislative process, but we literally saw the inner architecture and frame of the Capitol dome. We have some very special relationships to thank for this opportunity.

We did it shoulder to shoulder hailing from all parts of the political spectrum and experience levels. It’s a trip where we set ourselves upon the issues that matter to us and we focus on moving the ball down the field.

The Texas Capitol is an exceptional place, and through The Real Estate Council, it’s a proud moment to walk away knowing we were there to make a difference for the better for our industry, and city and our state.

And if you’re still reading a political blog post by choice, you, my friend, have just qualified yourself to join the TREC PAC and talk about coming to Lobby Day 2019. Hope to talk to you soon! Contact Stephanie Keller Hudiburg with questions about getting involved.

John is the founder and president of Biel Partners, LLC. His background is in industrial, office and land transactions representing tenants, buyers and owners.   As a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington with a concentration in Real Estate, and a North Texas native, he is able to leverage a unique network of business owners, civic and government leaders, and members of the community. John was recently appointed by Governor Abbott to serve on the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists.