Maxine Watson of Quentin Williams Realtors in Pampa is, like other realtors, a part of the Texas Association of Realtors.
By being involved with the trade association, Watson and others are engaged in advocacy in legislation that affects the day-to-day operations of real estate agencies.
“We are non-bi-partisan,” Watson said. “The rule of thumb is that realtor groups are purple. We don’t care if you’re red or blue. So we are looking at candidates based on home-ownership rights, property-ownership rights and property investments.”
The state trade association has a lobbyist group called TREPAC or Texas Real Estate Political Action Committee who endorses candidates and Watson has been appointed to the Political Involvement Committee (PIC) for Pampa’s region, which extends to Amarillo and Lubbock.
“We are the information,” Watson said. “It’s an appointed position for the state, which has 16 regions. Pampa is in Region 1, made up of local associations from Lubbock, Amarillo, Plainview, Dalhart, Dumas and Pampa.”
Watson’s job as a PIC is to help get information regarding candidates running for office to the Panhandle associations regarding their areas.
In election years, that includes learning about candidates, their stances and how it affects the realty business.
“I went last Monday to Lubbock and they did interviews for their mayor race as well as their house district seat,” Watson said. “When you’re in real estate you do want to be involved in politics at the local level and at the state level. Because it does affect us. It affects us in our sales tax and our property taxes. Our PAC has been active in affecting HOA reform, property tax transparency, imminent domain reform, the ban on transfer tax, increase in homestead, etc.”
Watson said it’s important for voters to know who represents the rural communities in Austin as Texas becomes a more urbanized population.
“Even in our hometowns,” Watson said. “What our needs are and what Houston’s needs are is so different. We need to make sure we still have a voice. That’s where we communicate with our staff (TREPAC) in Austin.”
Watson said normally the position she now holds is passed between Amarillo and Lubbock, so for someone from Pampa to have it is a great opportunity.
“I’ve learned a lot in just a matter of weeks,” Watson said. “I’m looking at candidates in a different way. I’ve never been one who wanted to get into politics because it sounds like an aggressive debate. But when your doing it with an organization like (TREPAC or State Association), it’s more about advocacy. It’s not looking at blue or red, Democrat or Republican. It’s about how is it going to affect us in our profession, property owners/investors and our clients including cities, counties and state.”
Watson’s position allows for her to be the go-between for local Pampa realtors and the State Association and/or TREPAC.
“I send those (questions) off and we get the Austin staff to look at it and find out what the bill is or what is taking place on this bill,” Watson said. “They literally have members of their staff for reading bills.”
Watson said noted that property tax transparency seems to be one of the more hot-button issues, mainly because it can be a convoluted issue.
“When you’re looking at your tax bill, there is a confusion on how the whole system works,” Watson said. “You hear your taxes won’t go up this year, then they get their tax bill in and it’s higher because the evaluation went up. I think the most common thing we hear is, there is frustration and confusion over our tax system.”
School finance is another topic that is often talked about.
“Nobody can come up with the magic formula to school finance,” Watson said. “We want to get these schools everything they need, but not raise taxes.”
As for what’s next for Watson and her involvement with the State Association and TREPAC? Get voters ready for the primaries.
“Right now we are doing candidate interviews, we are getting information on the different races and passing on that information,” Watson said. “We are encouraging our associations (at the local level) to do voter registration drives and our realtor members to be delegates in their precincts and attend state conventions.”
Watson added every person in every community has a voice to vote.
“We want everybody to speak up regardless of who they want to support,” Watson said. “As realtors, a lot of times we’re the first ones to meet people as they are moving into town. We want people to be involved and invested in their communities.”
Maxine Watson has been a broker since 2012 and an agent since 2006. She is married to Benny Watson and has two children.
For more information on Pampa’s own Pampa Realtor Association, call 806-669-1811.
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