Real estate broker gains fame for investment in lobbying

Linda Romer Todd
Linda Romer Todd

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Linda Romer Todd believes there’s a direct connection between business and politics: “If you’re in business, you’re in politics.”

That’s why Todd, owner of the Associated Brokers & Consultants real estate firm in Grand Junction, long has been involved in efforts to influence legislation affecting her industry. In her addition to her time, Todd has contributed over  the course of her 37-year career more than $25,000 to help fund lobbying efforts.

That level of investment earned Todd induction into the Realtors Political Action Committee Hall of Fame. She was inducted in a ceremony in May in Washington, D.C.

Todd is one of only 572 inductees into the hall out of the more than 1 million members of the National Association of Realtors. She’s one of only 52 platinum-level investors in the United States.

Todd said her contributions to lobbying efforts correspond to her involvement in various issues affecting the real estate industry, property rights in particular. “I have invested more heavily because I’m more involved.”

Todd has twice served as chairwoman of the Grand Junction Area Association of Realtors and also has served on five state committees and seven national committees. In addition, she was involved in the creation of what she called a national “tool kit” offering an overview of water-related issues, including water conservation, water quality and water rights.

The National Association of Realtors is known for having a “fairly strong”  lobby in Washington, D.C., that’s been involved a wide range of issues, Todd said.

That’s included everything from preserving the deductibility of home mortgage interest on federal income taxes and the continued exchange of investment real estate for like-kind property on a tax-deferred basis to rising premiums for national flood insurance and the regulation of lead-based paints in commercial properties.

Realtors also are involved in elections and endorsing candidates, Todd said, although on the basis of their positions on issues affecting the industry, not their political affiliations.

Todd worked for a large real estate franchise for two years before she became a broker and owner in 1980 of a firm with 22 agents. Two years later, she became an independent broker doing business as the Todd Agency. She incorporated as Associated Brokers & Consultants in 1997.

In addition to helping clients buy and sell real estate, Associated Brokers & Consultants derives a lot of its business from property management services, Todd said.

Todd said it’s fairly easy to make real estate sales when the market is strong, but far more challenging when conditions weaken.

Over the course of her career, Todd said the Mesa County real estate market has risen and fallen like a roller coaster — dropping sharply after the oil shale bust in the early 1980s, climbing steeply at the beginning of the new century and a natural gas boom, falling again with the recession and then slowly recovering.

While real estate prices in Mesa County haven’t yet returned to prerecession levels, the slower pace of growth is more sustainable, Todd said.

“I think we’re in a good market right now.”

Todd said she considers herself a “real believer” in the forces exerted by supply and demand. But laws, regulations and policies also affect the market and what people pay for land and housing. And that, in turn, affects the real estate industry and the professionals who work in it.

That’s why there’s a connection between business and politics, she said, and why she’s spent so much of her time and money over the course of her career working to influence laws, regulations and policies that affect the real estate industry.

“When you get more involved, you tend to invest more,” she said.