Marc Savitt has been a rather loud voice for mortgage industry issues for a number of years, especially when it comes to things like the Home Valuation Code of Conduct.
Now he wants to take that advocacy to a new platform: the House of Representatives. Savitt has announced he is seeking what will be an open seat in the 10th District of Virginia, where he resides. (His business The Mortgage Center is located in West Virginia.) Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., is retiring after serving 17 terms.
The district runs from the Washington suburb of McLean out to the West Virginia border.
Over the past 15 years Savitt has spent a lot of time on Capitol Hill, first as a board member and later president of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers. Today, he is the president and founder of the National Association of Independent Housing Professionals.
He is running as a Republican. But before appearing on the ballot in November, Savitt must win what he termed "a firehouse primary" being held on April 26. There will be a single polling place in each county and the primary is open to members of both parties even though only Republican candidates will be on the ballot.
The main reason he is running is that he thinks the interaction on both sides of the aisle is dysfunctional, and he feels there needs to be a change.
The intent of the Founding Fathers was to have citizen legislators. But there are plenty of members of both parties who have been in Congress for a long time, including the man he is seeking to replace.
That longevity is one of the reasons why there is gridlock, he says, as people get set in their ways and are not willing to work with each other. But cooperation is needed to be able to solve a lot of the problems facing the nation, Savitt says.
He is not the first mortgage broker to run for Congress; at least two others, including Nancy Detert, have made the attempt. Both failed to get out of the primary. Detert, at the time of her run a member of Florida's House of Representatives, is currently a state senator.
Unlike Detert, Savitt does not have any prior experience as an elected official. Rather than being a detriment, he thinks this bolsters his point about the need for new blood in government.
Americans should be electing to Congress "people that are actually on Main Street, the front line people, the boots on the ground in the communities, the people that are the recipients of the all the onerous rules, regulations and laws that are coming out of Washington," Savitt declares, adding they are the ones most capable of fixing the problems.
Savitt has been living in the district for 28 years and feels he can win because he has established relationships not only in the county where he lives but in other parts of the district as well.
He is able to run because he has four grown children and five grandchildren. Plus because of the time he has spent in Washington in recent years speaking on mortgage matters, his wife has been running The Mortgage Center.
Housing will not be the only issue he is running on. When campaigning, rather than telling people what his position is, he asks them what their problems are.
There are a lot of small business owners in the district and what he is finding is they are facing what a lot of mortgage industry participants are dealing with as well in terms of government involvement in how they operate.
"Washington continues to pick winners and losers at the expense of small business," Savitt says, and the cost is fewer jobs.
His candidacy has staked out strong positions on education, health care, immigration reform and national security, and all these issues are related to jobs and the general economic well-being of Americans.
But his hot-button issue remains the appraiser independence rule in the Dodd-Frank Act, which came out of the Home Valuation Code of Conduct.
The intent was to stop appraisal fraud and lower costs to consumers. The rule has done anything but that, Savitt declares. Appraisers have left the business and the ones that are left are likely not geographically qualified to do the job. So this is the one thing he will take on immediately if he is elected.
If elected, Savitt says he will not take the government health care plan that members of Congress are entitled to; rather he will retain and pay for his own health care policy.
And unlike his predecessor, Savitt plans to term-limit himself. He would serve no more than four terms, five terms tops. After eight to 10 years, it is time for someone with new ideas to take over, he states.