To highlight homeownership's vital importance to families and to the economy, more than 600 Floridians participated in a Rally for Homeownership today in downtown Tampa.

Speakers at the rally included Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn; State Representative Dana Young (R-57); State Representative Janet Cruz (D-58); Chairman of the Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners Ken Hagan; and Sylvia Alvarez, executive director of the Housing and Education Alliance. 

"Today, we are demanding that policymakers in Washington fix housing in America," said County Commissioner Hagan. "Don't even think about doing away with the mortgage interest deduction. Washington, please protect homeownership." 

The rally was held in Joe Chillura Courthouse Square Park in downtown Tampa, and was sponsored by the Tampa Bay Builders Association (TBBA), the Florida Home Builders Association (FHBA) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). 

The home builder groups joined with consumer advocates, civil rights groups, Realtors, local Chambers of Commerce, politicians, church groups and others to highlight the importance of homeownership. 

"Homeownership is the fabric that our country was founded on," said State Rep. Young. "People came to America looking for a better opportunity, and the opportunity to own a place of their own. We need to protect homeownership because it represents freedom." 

Rally participants represented a broad range of interests including home owners, small business owners, civil rights organizations, church groups, home builders and real estate agents, consumers, business leaders, politicians, merchants and manufacturers, bankers, students and many others. 

"Homeownership is the foundation of the American Dream," said NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg, a home builder from Gainesville, Fla., who served as emcee for the event. "Homeownership helps families build wealth, it strengthens communities, and it provides millions of jobs across America. Please let your elected officials know that you value homeownership." 

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