My meeting last week with Congressman John Sullivan (OK 1, R) was one of several where I am trying to help establish the support required to achieve the needed changes in the Dodd-Frank Bill that the industry needs. Congressman Sullivan’s Chief of Staff, Richard Hedgecock, suggested through their scheduler that we meet for lunch at a local icon Ike’s Chili. Ike’s Chili is about two miles west of Home-Mart on Admiral and is celebrating its 102 year. The congressman’s Communications Director, John Tidwell was with the congressman and Chief of Staff Hedgecock. One of the first question Congressman Sullivan asked was how my daughter’s family was and especially about our oldest grandchild Cougar. Congressman Sullivan, and the others, have known Cougar since he was a new born and the congressman never fails to inquire as to how he is doing. All three of them were stunned to realize that he was now nine years old with a little sister, little brother, and another little brother on the way.
After a “low calorie” lunch at Ike’s the congressman asked to ride with me down to Home-Mart. We discussed some recent positive press he had received over two jobs bills he had introduced. Unlike what we are used to seeing in “jobs bills”, his bills promoted less government red tape in the market place. I will send out a copy of the news article on the bills.
Once we were at Home-Mart, I was able to take the three of them on a tour of three houses (all had been show houses in the past) that ranged in price from $65,000 to $105,000. They were united in their praise of what they saw and the congressman even started talking about how to get one installed on his lake property which he indicated is on the side of a hill.
We inserted the message “Welcome Congressman Sullivan” in our electronic message board to add a little spice to the occasion. I had packets prepared for all three of them which included the industry’s most recent white paper on the Dodd-Frank Bill. Congressman Sullivan, who voted against the bill in the House, committed to help our industry achieve the needed changes in order for us to survive.
Prior to meeting with Congressman Sullivan, I had met in early June with Bill Matchneer. I had worked with Bill for almost ten years through the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee as he was the top person in HUD with direct responsibility for manufactured housing. Bill has been transferred over to the newly established Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) which (as a result of the Dodd-Frank Bill) will regulate all financial services transactions (including manufactured housing loans) in the country. Bill has a highly placed position as a staff attorney at the CFPB and was appalled at the looming unintended consequences of the Dodd-Frank Bill. Although most of our problems are statutory, Bill will work with the industry as we attempt to mitigate the damage.
In the afternoon that Congressman Sullivan was there I also was able to visit with Dan Hourigan, from Senator Tom Coburn’s office. Dan is Senator Coburn’s Field Representative and was able spend about an hour with us. We discussed the negative ramifications of the Dodd-Frank Bill and other business issues before touring several homes. Senator Coburn also voted against the Dodd-Frank Bill and can be counted on to assist the industry with the needed revisions.
Additional meetings are planned with Senator Jim Inhofe or his staff and field staff members of Congressman Frank Lucas’ office.
Happy Labor Day to one and all.
(Editor’s note: this is the type of positive engagement that we would like to encourage among Industry members. Others who may have their own story of engaging state, local or federal political leaders, we encourage you to send us your story and photos for publication)