This election season has truly been a memorable one. An unprecedented number of people voted early, by absentee ballot, and in-person on Election Day. The Tennessee Secretary of State’s office reports that out of an estimated 4,437,042 registered voters, the presidential race pulled in a 68.6% turnout — a record for Tennessee. Election officials report that more than 3 million people cast their votes statewide, well surpassing the previous record set in 2008 when 2.6 million Tennesseans voted overall. Our Georgia neighbors also broke records with more than 4 million votes cast, bringing voter turnout to greater than 74%, according to the Georgia Secretary of State.
It’s encouraging that nearly 90% of our local Realtor membership is registered to vote. People want their voices heard. People aren’t sitting on the sidelines – they’re getting involved in the political process. No matter one’s political persuasion, people are looking to be counted and recognized. People are looking to lead; locally, statewide, and nationally. As REALTORS®, we’re doing our part to be engaged in the democratic process. Not only do REALTORS® engage annually in one-on-one meetings with our state and national legislatures, we also invest in RPAC, and we vote and encourage others to do the same.
So if you follow us on social media you may wonder why leading up to elections we have reminders to register to vote and also to get to the polls. As the voice of real estate in Greater Chattanooga, we encourage everyone to exercise their right and privilege to vote.
Coincidentally, as many around the nation went to the polls and cast their votes last week, Greater Chattanooga Realtors® also held our own elections for our Officers and Directors. All local REALTOR® members – nearly 2,200 of them – had the opportunity to vote for who will lead our association in the coming year.
These are volunteer positions, and our members are not compensated for serving. On top of their already demanding business schedule, our Officers and Directors freely offer to help lead their professional association, along with their peers, into a position of strength for the future. In addition to these elected positions, we have more than a dozen committees and task forces comprised of even more volunteer members. Serving in these leadership positions is no easy task and a commitment – to their industry, the community they serve, and to their own professional development. It’s truly a team effort to work toward our mission and vision. At Greater Chattanooga Realtors®, we are lucky to have so many Realtor members who are looking to serve.
So what do we work on throughout the year? In short, a lot. Through the Board and various committees, this year we launched a Let’s Talk! Diversity & Inclusion webinar series designed as an ongoing conversation to promote equal opportunity and cultural diversity within the real estate industry and our community. Also in the works is a community flower garden in Highland Park Commons, which is part of our Placemaking efforts to transform public spaces into vibrant community places. As a space becomes more desirable and welcoming, properties around that place increase in value.
When it was apparent this year’s plans would not include travel to various conferences, we reallocated and invested those funds in our community. In addition to our annual donations to the Snack Packs ministry and Habitat for Humanity, we provided $4,000 to the Chattanooga Area Food Bank for COVD-19 relief efforts and nearly $10,000 in funds and supplies for the April 12-13 tornado victims. On top of these contributions, our members have been hands-on volunteering with Habitat, packing Snack Packs, and helping with tornado recovery efforts.
We pivoted on plans for our annual membership appreciation event and identified ways to help our local business. We had a pop-up pumpkin patch, with pumpkins purchased from a local nursery and gift cards to local restaurants for each member. Also, the winners of our pumpkin carving contest won gift cards to local businesses. It’s our small way of showing appreciation for our members while supporting local businesses at the same time.
These are just a few examples of our collective work this year, which reaches beyond our membership or the walls of our Association office on Amnicola. Realtors are many things. We’re ambassadors for our community, and we serve the property needs of our clients. But we are also leaders, and we will continue to lead our community in a way that will help protect private property rights and help ensure that the American Dream of homeownership is within grasp for all.
Realtors help serve our clients and community throughout the year, but we also serve our fellow Realtors. That’s Who We R®.