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Realtors® running for offices throughout commonwealth

Published Wednesday, May 4, 2011
by Kim Shindle, Manager of Media Relations at the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors®

Several Realtors® are vying for posts throughout the state in the Primary Election on Tuesday, May 17.

Barbara Capozzi, Esq., owner of Capozzi Real Estate, is running for Philadelphia City Council in the Second District. A third generation Realtor®, Capozzi said she’s been active in civic affairs and political issues for more than 20 years and would like to do more.

“I worked with my local association, the Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors®, to sponsor and pass the city’s 10-year tax abatement program and I want to make sure programs like this continue in the city because it helped move Philadelphia forward and benefitted the residents tremendously,” she said. “The abatement offers tax breaks not only for new construction but also offered abatements to homeowners doing renovations on existing properties if they had city permits, so everyone benefited.”

Realtor® Matt McConnell of Hermitage is throwing his hat into the ring to become a Mercer County Commissioner. McConnell, with Northwood Realty Services, is running on the Republican ticket against two other Republicans in the primary.

He’s running for office because he’d like to see improvements in county government. “There are a lot of opportunities to attract various businesses to our county because of our low cost of living including real estate prices, quality schools, great infrastructures including Interstate 80 and 79, and outstanding recreation.  I think my experience and education as a Realtor®, my bachelor’s degree in economics, and MBA in finance will aid me in running the county and attracting new businesses,” he said.

McConnell has been in real estate since 1993, taking some time off for work in management consulting with Deloitte & Touche and the Hackett Group.
Following local legislation has made Realtor® Rick Woodard with Century 21 Piscioneri run for Camp Hill Borough Council. “The Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors® has fought against some of the ordinances proposed by the Camp Hill Borough,” Woodard said. “We collected more than 400 signatures to oppose an ordinance which would have delayed closings on home sales. As a Realtor®, I think I’ll bring my expertise on consumer property rights to the borough council.”

Having Realtors® run for office is something the Suburban Realtors® Alliance (SRA) encourages, according to Jamie Ridge, SRA president/CEO. “We’ve seen the difference that Realtors® have made in the state legislature with Sen. Wayne Fontana, Rep. Sue Helm and Rep. Marguerite Quinn,” Ridge said. “On the local level, Realtors® stand out from other elected officials because they understand how local ordinances impact property sales and property owners. They try to avoid having municipalities burden themselves by hurting real estate sales and property values.”

In a race for Bristol Township Council, two Realtors® and a former Realtor® are all running for office. PAR members Amber Longhitano and Troy Brennan, both with Real Estate Excel in Yardley, as well as former member Craig Bowen will be up for election in the primary race.

“They are running specifically because the regulations in this township are detrimental to business and residential real estate. They came together as a team to change things and make it more attractive to businesses,” Ridge said. “This township should be active with first-time homebuyers but the township has made it so burdensome to buy a house or open a business that things are in a free fall.”

Ridge shared the political success story of Realtor® Terence Farrell. Six years ago SRA supported his run for Chester County Recorder of Deeds. “He completely turned that department around with new automation and it’s more efficient. Then he ran for Chester County Commissioner and we supported his candidacy. He’s now serving as chair of the County Commissioners,” Ridge said.

Realtors® are urged to vote in their local primary elections on Tuesday, May 17.

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