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Realty News – 2016 Presidential Candidates Weigh in at New Hampshire Housing Summit

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On October 19th, seven presidential candidates (five republican, one democrat) met with roughly 200 housing industry officials

at the New Hampshire Housing Summit. The attending politicians, Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), Gov. Chris Christie (R), Gov. George

Pataki (R), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R), former Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), former Gov. Jim Gilmore (R) and Sen. Rand Paul (R),

discussed the housing shortage currently facing low- and middle-income Americans–something most candidates have not

addressed.

Gov. Mike Huckabee took the opportunity to tout the importance of small, local government when dealing with housing

regulations. According to New Hampshire news outlet WMUR, Huckabee said at the summit that he believes the pendulum of

lending regulation has swung too far to the extremes, with lenders facing too few regulations before the housing crisis, and now,

according to Huckabee, too many. The solution, he suggested, may be in community banks and local-level regulations. Governor

George Pataki echoed Huckabee’s classic conservative sentiment toward small government with his argument that the

government should simply withdraw from affordable housing issues altogether, allowing the private sector to take over and fix

the problems.

Sen. Lindsey Graham pushed back on this notion, describing the plight of seniors who, after healthcare and household costs,

have little money to put toward housing. He argued that it may be worth partnering with the federal government to provide

affordable housing. In fact, he was quoted as having said, “If you can’t provide housing, then you missed the whole role of what

government is about.”

Gov. Chris Christie chose to highlight what his state (New Jersey) already does to address affordable housing: incentivize builders

to participate in “mixed-use development,” combining residential, commercial and/or cultural/institutional interests within a

building or complex. He also hearkened back to Huckabee and Pataki’s remarks about small government, noting he would

deregulate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and that he believes recent changes to disclosure procedures is more

evidence of government overreach. Former Governor Jim Gilmore also gave a financial answer: grow the economy, create jobs

and improve incomes.

Former Governor Martin O’Malley, the only Democrat to attend the summit, suggested a federally-led alternative: double

Community Development Block Grants and the low-income housing tax credit, theoretically doubling the incentive to develop

low-income housing.

Senator Rand Paul was also in attendance, but was not quoted as having shared any specific information or ideas.

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