All Realtors® should be familiar with Senator Johnny Isakson from Georgia. Sen Isakson has been a Realtor® for 43 years and spent 36 of those years in politics as well. Sen. Isakson has championed many Realtor® causes over the years, has been an outspoken advocate for private property rights and was the leading force in the recent extension and expansion of the First Time Homebuyer Credit.
Senator Isakson's Deputy Chief of Staff, Joan Kirchner, recently provided a synopsis to a Realtor® group on what you're likely to encounter when you visit his office, or the office of any legislator for that matter. I know in California, a by-product of term-limits is that legislators rely more and more on staff and lobbyists to do the legwork, draft resolutions, talk to constituents and, in some cases, run their business and make their decisions. If you need any more reasons to get involved and invest in the Realtor Action Fund - read on.
So here's who's really in charge:
The majority of staffers walking the halls of Congress, drafting the laws of this country and advising your elected officials to vote are "20 somethings".
The average age of our staff is 31 years old (and by the way, that's only because at age 45 I bring their average way up). The kids in the office - I call the kids because I'm old enough to be their mother - the kids love to joke and ask me questions like, "Hey Joan, didn't you cover the signing of the Declaration of Independence when you were an AP reporter?"
So anyway, the average age of Johnny's staff is 31.
- 60% have never been married
- 70% don't have children
- 60% have never owned their own home
So if you come to Washington and you schedule a meeting with a staff member of your Congressman or Senator, you are likely to be sitting across the table from someone who is in their 20's, who has never paid a mortgage, who has never attended a PTA meeting and who may still be getting subsidized by Mom & Dad. And we are fairly typical of staff on the Hill.
So while many Congressional staffers are enthusiastic and incredibly smart and have degrees from some of the best universities in the country, they have little real world experience.
And if you come again next year, you're likely to see a new person on that same job. Turnover on Capitol Hill is very high. They stay on the job for about two years and they leave the Hill for good after five years - that is, if their boss survives the next election. It is a constantly revolving door.
It's a little scary and that's another reason why we desperately need you to get involved, to pay attention to what Congress is doing - or not doing - and to educate us on how it really works in the real world - outside the Washington Beltway.
Deputy Chief of Staff
U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson