Tom Woods, NAHB Chairman of the Board
Herman Farrer Tom Woods, NAHB Chairman of the Board

Government policies related to everything from taxes to the environment can have a tremendous impact on how we build homes and our business success. Equally important, such policies have a profound effect on housing affordability and homeownership.

That's why the NAHB works hard to ensure that elected officials hear its concerns and understand how important housing and new-home construction are to the nation's economy and its people—and why housing must be a national priority.

We're always looking at innovative ways to connect with elected officials, and to that end will be holding an unprecedented event on Jan. 20 during the International Builders' Show (IBS): a presidential candidates' forum.

With tens of thousands of attendees working in all aspects of home building, the Builders' Show is our industry's largest annual event and the ideal opportunity for candidates to discuss their goals and beliefs with a highly motivated, well-informed group of voters. It's also an opportunity for NAHB to impress on the candidates the size and scope of our industry, to focus attention on the issues that matter most to home builders, and to show housing must be a national priority.

Because home building is largely a local enterprise and varies greatly from market to market, I think most elected officials at the national level are not fully aware that it accounts for about 15% of the nation's economy.

Millions of people nationwide are employed under the broad umbrella of the home building industry. They are concerned about how the government treats housing and homeownership, and they will be taking those concerns to the voting booth on Election Day.

The timing and location of the IBS also make it an ideal venue for a presidential candidate forum. The show routinely attracts 400 or more members of the media, and the Nevada caucuses will take place a month later. Moreover, Nevada is a swing state, so it's reasonable to expect that a forum here could attract a broad range of presidential candidates.

Coordinating and managing such an event takes specialized expertise, so we are partnering with the National Journal, a media company that focuses on Capitol Hill and the political arena, to produce the candidates' forum.

We've invited every declared presidential candidate to participate in the forum, which will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Jan. 20 at the Westgate Hotel. Each candidate who joins us will make an opening statement and then answer questions posed by a moderator.

We scheduled the forum after the IBS exhibits close for the day so attendees can maximize their time at IBS, as well as the other shows that are part of Design and Construction Week: the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, the International Window Coverings Expo, and the International Surface Event.

There's no charge to attend the forum, but tickets are limited and will be distributed on a first-come basis. For more information and to reserve your seat, visit

The NAHB is pleased to offer IBS attendees this opportunity to learn where the candidates stand as we work to make housing a national priority in the 2016 election and beyond.