NHMC, NAA to End Joint Legislative Program in March 2009

By Erika Schnitzer, Associate EditorWashington, D.C.–The National Multi Housing Council (NMHC) and National Apartment Association (NAA) have announced plans to end their joint legislative program, effective March 1, 2009.For the past 17 years, NMHC has represented both organizations before Congress, federal agencies and the judiciary.“We will not be changing anything we’re doing. We’ve been able to put together a great lobbying team and we’ll work on all issues at the federal, state and local levels,” Jim Arbury, senior vice president of government affairs for NMHC, tells MHN, adding that those local issues will include telecommunications, rent control and the environment.Representing the nation’s multifamily firms, the joint legislation program has created a unified voice for the industry.”I think the big opportunity here is to have more people actively working on [Capital Hill] to press the issues of the multifamily industry,” Doug Culkin, CAE, president, NAA, tells MHN.Despite the separation of the two organizations, however, Ron Shelton, NAA chairman of the board-elect, says, “We will continue to collaborate with NMHC on aligned interests and will now take a direct role in all issues that shape our industry. We believe that having independent programs will provide increased awareness and double the vigilance on the industry’s pressing issues.” “We want to work in an alignment of representing our members on those issues that will impact them,” asserts Culkin. “The more people who are pounding the Hill and meeting with staff members and Congress, the better the interests of the industry will be served.”NMHC currently has eight lobbyists and one person working on building codes, notes Arbury. “We’re going to continue doing what we’re doing—working on the whole range of issues. Next year looks like it will be a very challenging year, legislatively,” he admits.