In Lehman's Terms
Like most Americans, I pause at this time of year to give thanks for my many blessings.
Despite what’s happening in the world, there is one thing I cherish that is uniquely American and still as relevant today as it was during the first Thanksgiving: The dream of owning property is still alive and well in the United States.
That dream has brought many immigrants to this country. It’s also the dream that has caused many to Americans to choose to live in Texas, including my family.
Decades ago, my family owned land in Kentucky and were proud to be land owners. For the privilege of living on that land, they had to pay taxes to the state. They worked hard but couldn’t quite pay the tax bill. They sold most of their belongings but still couldn’t pay the tax bill. Finally, they sold the horse they used to work the land—but it wasn’t enough.
The state of Kentucky made them an offer: We’ll take your land to settle the tax bill, and you can work it as a sharecropper.
That didn’t suit my family, so they packed up what little they had left and walked to Texas; remember, they’d sold the horse.
Not all of them made it. My great-great-great grandmother is buried along the road somewhere in Arkansas. But they kept going because they knew that Texas was a place where they could earn another piece of land—and it wouldn’t be taken from them.
They saw Texas as the place to build their American dream. I think they would be proud to know that I, one of their descendants, has the opportunity to walk into the Texas Capitol every day and fight for the property rights that they worked so hard to gain. I am honored and thankful to have the responsibility to represent our Texas REALTOR® members in this endeavor.
Mark Lehman is vice president of governmental affairs at the Texas Association of REALTORS®.
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