02/26/2010 | By Allen Kenney
By Allen Kenney
The Small Investor Empowerment Award was established on behalf of those people who invest in, are employed by, or derive benefit from REITs and publicly traded real estate companies. The award recognizes public servants who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to the ideals of free enterprise, economic growth, personal freedom and unlimited opportunity for all Americans.
Before he became a member of Congress, Stark built a highly successful career in the financial services industry. In 1963, he founded Security National Bank in Walnut Creek, Calif. The bank grew from a small storefront to a $1 billion financial institution with branches in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.
Stark sold his interest in the bank when he was elected to Congress. However, during his time in the field of banking and investments, he came to understand the important role REITs can play in the portfolios of small investors, providing them with the same opportunity for diversification and steady dividends that large investors traditionally have gained from direct holdings of commercial real estate.
He recognized REITs as a tool that can give working people an advantage in investing for their retirement security. As a result, Stark, the second-ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, has been a consistent and strong supporter of legislation to improve the REIT industry.