Commonwealth Strategic Partners Case Study:


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Churchill Mortgage / Heroes First Home Loans has been in the business of giving back to community servants for years. But Heroes First National Director Sam Royer wanted to do more. As a Marine veteran, he enjoyed an affordable home loan benefit option through the Department of Veterans Affairs. He conceived an idea: to offer similar benefits to the first responders with whom he spoke every day who risked their lives to serve their communities, just as veterans risked their lives to serve their country. He came to Commonwealth Strategic Partners (CSP) to champion his idea, the Homes for Every Local Protection, Educator, and Responder (HELPER) Act.

“I’ve been friends with CSP’s George McElwee since we were kids. He values the service of military, first responders, and teachers as much as I do,” said Royer. “I knew he and the CSP team would share my passion for giving back to those individuals who give so much to us. I couldn’t imagine entrusting this work to any other lobbying firm.”

CSP worked with Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL), Al Lawson (D-FL), John Katko (R-NY), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) to craft the bill. The HELPER Act would provide police and corrections officers, firefighters, EMTs and paramedics, and public and private preK-12 educators with an affordable home loan option managed by the Federal Housing Administration. The bill was introduced in May 2021 with four bipartisan sponsors.

CSP has worked to secure as many additional cosponsors as possible, reaching out to members of Congress across the country and the political spectrum to bring them together to support first responders. CSP also worked with Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Jon Ossoff (D-GA) to introduce a Senate version of the HELPER Act in October that same year.

Today, the HELPER Act enjoys nearly 100 cosponsors in the House and Senate. Cosponsors come from both parties and across the country. The House and Senate versions each enjoy more cosponsors than 95% of all bills introduced in their respective chamber during the 117th Congress. The HELPER Act’s dramatic support comes in large part thanks to the aggressive outreach strategy employed by CSP.

“In my nine years as Chief of Staff to Congressman Charlie Dent, there was nothing that drew my attention more than hearing about an issue from a constituent,” said McElwee, one of CSP’s managing partners. “I knew that if members of Congress heard about the HELPER Act from the people it would impact, that would make a real difference.”

To that end, CSP developed an aggressive outreach strategy to establish a nationwide coalition of supporters. This outreach included unions, professional associations, and local elected officials who represent the covered first responders and teachers. At time of writing, CSP’s intense outreach has secured the endorsements of nearly 250 organizations and officials. Additionally, CSP has worked with some of these supporters to publish op-eds in several state and local publications. Finally, the bill has received national coverage from Politico and Fox News.

CSP and Churchill Mortgage/Heroes First Home Loans continue to push for the HELPER Act on all fronts. For their tireless and effective work on the HELPER Act, CSP Managing Partners George McElwee and Keith Pemrick were named among The Hill’s Top Lobbyists of 2021.