Realtors endorse Rossi for governor

The Washington Association of Realtors has endorsed Dino Rossi for governor. The endorsement follows interviews of both Rossi and Gov. Chris Gregoire by a 17-member statewide candidate interview team.

“Washington state is fortunate to have two highly-qualified candidates for governor,” said team member Jan Ellingson, the 2008 president of the Washington Realtors. “It was a tough decision, but, in the end, we felt Dino’s background in real estate and his leadership on budget issues while in the state Legislature make him the best candidate to address the issues facing our industry and our state.”

With the endorsement by the Realtors comes the financial support of the Realtors PAC, the state’s largest political action committee, with more than 10,000 contributors. RPAC does not favor political parties, but candidates who share the organization’s concerns about the housing industry, home buyers, and homeownership in Washington state.

In 2004, RPAC invested $750,000 in direct contributions and independent expenditures for political races around the state; about 92 percent of Realtor-endorsed candidates were elected to office.

Rossi, whom the Realtors endorsed for governor in 2004, has had a successful career in commercial real estate for more than 20 years. He served two terms in the Legislature, from 1996 to 2003, when he resigned to run for governor. He lost that campaign in the closest race in the history of the state.

During his time in the Legislature he had an eight-year record of supporting issues important to Realtors. As chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee he successfully negotiated a balanced state budget.

“Dino believes that the state should live within its means, and so do we,” said Bill Riley, Washington Realtors vice-president of government affairs. “He also understands the need to address the lack of housing affordability that’s pushing home ownership further and further from the reach of middle-income families.”

Riley said housing is not a priority on Gov. Gregoire’s policy agenda, which she has stated includes health care, transportation, public safety, education and the environment.

“The reality is that housing is not one of her top priorities and it is clearly a priority for Dino,” said Riley, who participated in the Realtors’ interview process.

The interview team included leaders of the Washington Realtors’ government affairs committees, the association leadership, and others appointed by the organization —Realtors from all 10 RPAC districts that cover the state and are representative of the diversity within the organization’s large membership. There is also a representative of the Washington State Commercial Association of Realtors.

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