We need to adopt policies that support a more distributed economic development strategy. While the debates at the Capitol focus on cutting critical funding for education, women’s health care, and Iowa courts, we are missing an opportunity to grow our economy with a new strategy that diversifies Iowa’s economic base.
- Agriculture and manufacturing will continue to be our core economic drivers while adding value to each is still a priority. But the 21st-century economy is defined by information-based businesses that can be created anywhere. Iowa has the opportunity to capture these new fields by extending our economic development goals to include repopulating and revitalizing our rural cities. Our universities and private colleges are incubators for tomorrow’s innovators and entrepreneurs. Technology transfer to grow new companies in Iowa is being nurtured at these institutions and we have to develop a more welcoming and engaging strategy to keep those ideas and talent in Iowa.
- Ed supports community college programs to train skilled workers to meet the needs of our manufacturers throughout the state and fill job openings that exist now. Ed supports higher education for the contributions graduates can make as Iowa teachers and future business creators.
- Reshaping rural communities: Working together we can develop incentives for a community structure of leadership, mentorship, community visioning and access to capital, which can reshape our rural communities.
- Growing Iowa’s future companies will create more jobs than the heavily burdened give-away tax incentives that create few jobs and strain our current budgets.
We’ve had great success in working together in Fairfield. We’ve been able to forge willing partnerships between the public and private sectors and business and civic volunteer groups, government and industry, and set plans and strategies for growth and quality- of- life improvements. These partnerships have resulted in new amenities in fitness, entertainment and recreational opportunities, improved our quality of life and environment, stimulated local business and retail opportunities and helped to grow and retain our population. All made possible through collaboration and consensus building. It’s an approach we can take District-wide.