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As part of its ongoing efforts to make housing prominent in the debate over restoring the economy leading up to next year’s presidential and congressional elections, NAHB, along with the National Journal Hotline, sponsored the Michigan straw poll that took place on Sept. 25 during the 29th Biennial Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference at Mackinac Island, Mich.
More than 1,600 elected officials and party regulars from across the state and the country attended the three-day conference.
The event culminated in a straw poll victory for home town favorite Mitt Romney, who grew up in the Detroit suburbs and whose father, George, served as a three-term governor of the Wolverine State in the 1960s.
NAHB Senior Officers Rick Judson and Bob Jones, along with senior NAHB staff members and Daniel MacLeish and Bob Filka, president and executive officer of the Michigan Association of Home Builders, respectively, were on hand to discuss key housing issues with GOP political leaders.
Talks were held with GOP presidential candidates Romney and Rick Perry and several members of the Michigan congressional delegation — including Reps. Fred Upton and Dave Camp, who serve on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, the 12-member panel charged with finding a way to slash the federal deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over the next decade.
NAHB also met separately with Michigan Reps. Dan Benishek, Bill Huizenga and Tim Walberg.
Ongoing threats to the mortgage interest deduction and deduction for second homes, tight lending standards for home builders and buyers that are hampering a housing market recovery, and comprehensive tax and housing finance reform were among the topics that were addressed.
Polls conducted in recent months by NAHB and others indicate that the electorate strongly favors homeownership, suggesting that voters will look askance at policies that would step back from well-established government support for housing.
In the face of growing public disillusionment over the jobless recovery and concerns over renewed signs of weakening in the economy, NAHB is working to drive home the message that restoring housing to full health is essential for creating jobs, boosting consumer confidence and generating sustainable growth.
NAHB will be actively engaged throughout the elections in reaching out to presidential candidates on both sides of the political aisle to voice the importance of addressing critical housing issues at a pivotal juncture for the U.S. economy.
Before the event in Michigan, NAHB representatives had already met with Romney’s election campaign staff and policy advisers and with Texas Governor Perry, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich.
NAHB has also met with key figures on President Obama’s re-election team.
While the association does support pro-housing congressional candidates through BUILD-PAC, its political action committee, it officially does not endorse any presidential candidate.
NAHB is working to inject housing into the national election campaigns and to encourage voters to elect those candidates who are committed to preserving a top national priority for housing.