Bloomington-area REALTOR® Ed Neaves appreciates the impact politics can have on real estate businesses more than ever.

He’s felt the pain when local governments didn’t support the REALTOR® point of view. But he’s also enjoyed the satisfaction of educating elected officials about the unintended consequences of proposed legislation. Neaves’ experiences on the local and federal levels convinced him to become the Illinois REALTORS® State Legislative Contact for state Sen. Jason Barickman, 53rd District.

The managing broker for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Snyder in Bloomington is one of many REALTORS® assigned to 177 members of the Illinois General Assembly.

“The SLC program gives us visibility and leverage,” said Neaves, who’s chaired several Illinois REALTOR® political committees and is the association’s treasurer. “Instead of being a doormat association that simply takes what is given to them, we are part of the process up front.  We have a seat at the table and legislators at least listen to us.

“They realize REALTORS® are a powerful influencer in the process,” he said. “We have boots on the ground at every corner of every neighborhood. We represent all economic segments of the state. That gives us credibility as an organization that cares about the communities we serve.”

Learned from local, state and federal experiences

Through his service for the Bloomington-Normal Association of REALTORS® (BNAR), Neaves says he learned the value of organization and using consistent messaging with elected officials. During his early years as the Federal Political Coordinator to Rep. Adam Kinzinger, he says he discovered how critical communication with elected officials could be. The more involved he became in REALTOR® associations, the more intertwined and valuable his experiences turned out.

“I was involved in a local fight against implementing an ordinance to require residential sprinklers in new construction,” Neaves said. “The Town of Normal had already passed the code adoption and Bloomington was considering it, too. We met with each Bloomington city council member one-on-one for 90 minutes, educating them about the issue. During that time, I realized many elected officials were being forced to make decisions without enough information.”

During the 2018 Capitol Conference, Ed Neaves (right) visited legislative leaders with Greg St. Aubin (center), Matt Difanis and others.

Neaves has served in leadership positions for BNAR, most notably as its president in 2017.  In 2016, he received its Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2011, he was the BNAR REALTOR® of the Year. On the national level, he’s served repeated terms on the REALTOR® Party Member Involvement Committee for the National Association of REALTORS®.

At the state level, he serves on the Illinois REALTORS® Board of Directors and has chaired several working groups and committees. He’s part of a distinguished group of REALTORS® nationwide who have been inducted into the REALTORS Political Action Committee (RPAC) Hall of Fame for lifetime contributions of at least $25,000. He was honored for his political leadership with the 2015 Illinois REALTORS Political Involvement Award.

(This is the second in a series of articles about State Legislative Contacts for Illinois REALTORS®. The first featured Christopher Tenggren.)