Washington is a place where priori-ties can shift at a moment’s notice, and it isn’t uncommon for a change in leadership to signal the beginning of new initiatives.

The NAHB subscribes to a philosophy you can sum up in a single word: continuity. If we’re to provide the best possible service to our members, we can’t afford to change priorities and policies and to implement new programs every time a new chairman takes the helm.

Instead, we must focus on carefully assessing issues that affect our industry and work to protect our members’ best interests, whether the issue can be resolved in a few weeks or will demand our attention for years.

Our leadership structure, where the senior officers serve as vice chairmen with varying responsibilities for three years before being elected to the chairmanship, is well suited to provide this type of seamless continuity. Every officer has ample opportunity to thoroughly learn the issues and to be fully vested in our priorities, goals, and efforts.

Moreover, before joining the national leadership team, senior officers typically have headed key NAHB committees, served as a state or local president, and perhaps served as an area vice chairman or national representative. This provides valuable insight into the workings of the association at all levels and contributes to the continuity that we value so highly.

One of our highest priorities in early 2010 will be to promote the use of the $8,000 and $6,500 tax credits encouraging as many home sales as possible before the April 30 deadline. Use of these tax credits will boost home sales and housing starts while creating jobs and stimulating the nation’s economy. The credits are an extremely valuable tool for getting the housing market working again, and we’re going to do our best to ensure that members get the maximum value from them.

We will also continue our ongoing efforts to advance the NAHB’s regulatory and legislative agenda, particularly in relation to AD&C financing, reform of current appraisal practices, and restructuring of the nation’s financial system.

A severe lack of AD&C credit is putting the brakes on an already fragile housing recovery, so pushing hard for AD&C lenders to get back in the business of funding worthy projects will continue to be a priority for the NAHB in 2010.

Likewise, we will move forward with efforts to ensure that appraisals accurately reflect the market and aren’t distorted by the inappropriate use of foreclosures and other distressed sales as comparables.

We are also deeply involved in discussions about the future of the financial system, especially Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks. Through our ongoing efforts, we have earned a seat at every table where the future of housing finance is discussed, and we will be working diligently to protect members’ interests throughout the process.

In addition, new legislative and regulatory challenges are sure to develop during the coming year, and we will be working not only to deal with these concerns, but to anticipate them and work proactively to prevent or mitigate them. And most important, we will continue to do everything in our power to meet our members’ needs and to help our state and local associations better serve their members and the home buying public.