More than 300 of the apartment industry's top executives gathered at the Four Seasons at Las Colinas in Dallas today for NMHC's spring business meetings. The day opened with the Apartment Finance Strategies Conference, which included in-depth discussion of financing and operations issues, trends and forecasts, and closed with an exclusive interview with former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Secretary Clinton is considered a potential front runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.
This appearance is Secretary Clinton's first paid speaking engagement since leaving office and continues NMHC's tradition of connecting members with a wide spectrum of world-class thought leaders. Similarly, past speakers have included Secretary Clinton's husband and former President Bill Clinton, as well as members of the Bush legacy, including former Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, among numerous other influential political and business leaders.
Coincidentally, all these former NMHC speakers will be in Dallas for tomorrow's opening of the George W. Bush presidential library. National media made particular note of the fact that Jeb Bush, NMHC's 2011 spring meeting keynoter and a possible Republican challenger for the next presidency, also had a local speaking engagement today.
Against the backdrop of speculation over a possible second run as the Democratic presidential candidate and an upcoming book deal detailing her time as Secretary of State, Secretary Clinton focused on foreign affairs such as the Arab Spring and North Korean aggression, as well as domestic issues like the nation's spiraling deficit, during the Q&A with NMHC Chairman Tom Bozzuto, CEO and chairman of The Bozzuto Group.
But when asked the question all were curious to know--will she run for president in 2016--she answered in a most diplomatic way.
"That is certainly a question I haven't been asked--in all of 12 minutes," she said. "[But] I'm just returning to civilian life and getting reacquainted with something called normal life."
Secretary Clinton's candid discussion was a strong punctuation to a full day of discussion of the current state of the apartment industry, as well as emerging trends in apartment financing and operations. Key areas of interest for industry executives included reconciling strong surges in new apartment development activity with near- and longer-term demographic and demand shifts and determining what kind of additional capacity exists in the private capital markets should government-back sources of financing be phased out.
More high-level industry discussion continues tomorrow with NMHC's Board of Directors Meeting.