The BRI Unveils Legislative Agenda for 2022
As many of you know, the Board of Trustees went through a strategic planning process throughout 2020-2021. In that process, it was determined that the BRI’s advocacy program was too reliant on ad hoc conversations of the issues of the day. We were simply not devoting enough time to communicating our full vision of the policies we support or oppose, and the reasoning and experience that led us to our decisions. In the interests of being proactive, we wish to lay out not only our priority bills pending before the State Legislature, but policies that have not yet been drafted but for whom we are eager to find partners among our elected representatives.
Based on the results for these last few years, it’s clearly long past time for us to take our advocacy mission to the next level.
For decades, those property owners who provided and managed the buildings so many neighbors called home, as well as those who built critical new housing for the generations of new families who put their roots down in our communities, were respected as critical pieces of our local economy and community. Both local leaders and our neighbors recognized that we provided safe and stable housing, and good-paying local jobs. They appreciated that we contributed to the economy and, as good citizens and good neighbors, gave back to our local community. The growth of our businesses helped us afford to send our kids to college, to take care of our families, and to reach for our piece of the American Dream.
But today, we find ourselves too often tarred with a broad brush, and at the center of divisive political rhetoric that focuses only on the worst stereotypes of the “greedy” landlord or developer. We are under siege from an extreme ideology that believes that the best and only way to help those who struggle to afford housing is to trample on the property rights of individuals. We continue to adapt to a new regulatory landscape that makes it harder and harder to make the needed investments that will move our region forward.
We believe we need to return to a balanced approach to governance. We will only benefit by leaving behind the harsh “us vs. them” political point-scoring of the past few years for a recognition that we are all in this together. If we are serious about solving our many challenges, then everyone ought to be respected and at the table. It’s the only way to tackle the economic imperatives of confronting our housing shortage, avoiding layering on costs that will make more of our housing stock unaffordable to seniors, millennials, and middle-income families, and restoring our aging housing stock to keep it safe, dignified, and able to meet the needs of our energy future.
That starts with this agenda and the conversations we plan to have on these critical issues for years to come.