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September 10, 2008

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"As a real estate agent, I've seen this coming for a long time...I've seen this crisis growing from the ground, and I have watched my clients and the clients of my colleagues suffer."

That's impressive, Debbie. You did better than a lot of economists on that one. But more importantly, what did you do to address these issues? Like you, I don't want another do-nothing representative. What's your track record on acting on your beliefs? What can you say you did to help warn folks, or better, not participate in the crisis you saw coming?

Did you refuse to sell homes to folks who signed up for predatory loans? Did you only show homes to folks that they could could afford? And if you couldn't take a stand (maybe you had an onerous, unprincipled boss), did you at least write letters to the editor or to congress, warning of the impending crisis?

There was only so much I could do, but I like to think that I gave the best advice I could. I have made a vow to try to avoid putting anyone in a foreclosure situation, and have tried to talk prospective clients out of buying a house without the financial backing they need. As a real estate agent I vetted my loan officers; some are abusive, some are not, and without advice from someone with experience, it's hard for the average person to tell the difference. At first I hoped the crisis would "blow over", but I knew the negative equity and adjustable rate loans were dangerous. When I spoke to fellow agents/investors about what I saw happening, they laughed at me and called me naive. I learned how to do short sales, because I knew that if my clients were working with me that they wouldn't be scammed.

When I started my real estate blog on ActiveRain, some people told me that I should be positive because negative comments would exacerbate the crisis. I did not stay quiet. I also called my Congressman (now my opponent) early in the foreclosure crisis to encourage a positive vote on the Anti-Foreclosure Act (he voted against it just like he did on the foreclosure prevention act). Later I called him to help a client. He would only involve himself if it was a government owned loan (it wasn't).

In short:
I always warned my clients about shady loans.
I did not take customers to homes they couldn't affort (unless they understood they were sightseeing).

The reason I'm running is that I got fed up with going house to house, client to client, to solve the crisis. The crisis is too large. I wanted totake action and spread my message; this run for Congress is my action. Mike Simpson is wrong on so many levels, and shouldn't be re-elected without a fight.

I'm not saying that I knew how bad it would be, or exactly what would would happen. I could just see that the path we were on was a lot less safe than it appeared.

Excuse me. You have vetted 'loan officers' because some were abusive? HOW? Other than denying a less-than-credit-worthy client a home loan, you were part of the problem. I have seen real estate agents not give a damn and help their clients (even working as disclosed buyer's agents no less) at all with advice about closing costs, pushing loans through with those same types of abusive officers. You got your commissions and you sold your listings regardless. The government's lack of oversight was not a failure on the part of the Republicans as much as it was the Democrat side of Congress pushing regulators to relax lending standards, in spite of the warnings and hearings on the issue.

Sorry, but I don't buy it.

Way to stereotype real estate agents, Carolyn. A lot of them are hard working, decent people who are in the job to help other people. I'm willing to believe that you've had some bad experiences, but I am SICK of people assuming that real estate agents are somehow evil because the market is bad. It's time to stop making blanket statements condemning entire occupations. I've seen Debbie in action on the campaign trail, and I don't see any reason to doubt that she is one of the ones who cares.

And you don't have to buy it. The election was on November 4th & you're 15 days late.

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