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A 10-foot tall Realtor logo has become an icon of Great American Realtor Day, a day when Realtors from across Florida travel to Tallahassee to discuss real estate issues with their legislators. The March 19, 2014, event brought nearly 1,000 Realtors to the state Capitol. Orlando-area Realtor Mike McGraw escorted 2014 Florida Realtors President Sherri Meadows to the steps of the historic Capitol on a 2014 Harley Davidson to kick off the Inaugural Road Rally PAC fundraiser. Grand prize: a new Harley Davidson DYNA Super Glide. Details: www.floridarealtors.org/roadrally. With the Florida Realtors Leadership Team looking on, Senate President Don Gaetz (R-Destin) discussed tax cut measures and improvements to the education system that will make Florida "a place where people want to live, work, buy homes and retire." Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, a former Realtor and Miami-Dade property appraiser, applauded attendees for making the trek to Tallahassee to inform lawmakers of real estate issues. "Give yourselves a round of applause for your diligent work in rebuilding our economy," he told the crowd of nearly 1,000 Realtors. Passage of the Florida GI bill during the first week of the 2014 legislative session drew applause from Realtors. The law, modeled after the World War II-era program and intended to make Florida the most "military friendly place in America," provides tuition breaks and jobs programs for retired veterans. Face-to-face meetings between Realtors and legislators are important in the legislative process. Members of the Space Coast Realtors discussed Florida Realtors' legislative priorities with fellow Realtor and Speaker-designate, Rep. Steve Crisafulli (R-Merritt Island). Next year's Senate President, Sen. Andy Gardiner (R-Orlando), welcomed Realtors from the Central Florida area. Naples-area Realtor Mary Waller was among the nearly two dozen members of the Naples Area Board to meet with fellow Realtor Rep. Matt Hudson (R-Naples). Tina Harris, president of the Greater Tampa Association, reviewed Florida Realtors legislative issues with Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater). Latvala is the Senate sponsor of a bill that would direct a portion of the Sadowski Trust funds for affordable housing to the Department of Children and Families' homeless programs. Greater Tampa Association members enjoyed a lighthearted moment with Rep. Jake Raburn (R-Valrico). Raburn is the House sponsor of a Realtor-supported insurance bill that would lengthen the amount of time property insurance companies have to pay assessments to the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association. This is important to insurance companies considering writing policies in Florida, because unexpected assessments may severely impact cash flow. Rep. Kathleen Peters (R-St. Petersburg), co-sponsor of a Realtor-supported bill to direct a portion of Sadowski funds to homelessness programs that help children, listened as Brandi Gabbard, chairperson of the Pinellas Suncoast Association, presents Florida Realtors' other 2014 legislative priorities. Blues skies and temperatures in the mid-70s—perfect weather for the Great American Realtor Day party on Adams Street in downtown Tallahassee. All work and no play? No way. The evening block party is a time to unwind after a day of meetings with legislators. The Florida Realtors 2014 Leadership Team knows how to have fun, too. Seated on a 2014 Harley Davidson grand prize in the Inaugural Road Rally PAC Fundraiser — are (from left to right) President Sherri Meadows, Treasurer Maria Wells and President-Elect Andrew Barbar; plus Vice President Matey Veissi and Secretary Christine Hansen.

Photo credits:
Colin Hackley, http://www.colinhackley.com
Melina Vastola, http://www.melinasphotography.com