One of the goals that I, and many legislators, campaigned on during the last election was to put Iowans back to work. While there is no quick fix, we went to work developing multiple approaches. Our focus was to foster a stable business climate, remove unnecessary barriers to hiring, reduce the burdens on employers and be responsible with Iowan’s tax dollars. |From State Rep. Linda Upmeyer
One of the goals that I, and many legislators, campaigned on during the last election was to put Iowans back to work. While there is no quick fix, we went to work developing multiple approaches. Our focus was to foster a stable business climate, remove unnecessary barriers to hiring, reduce the burdens on employers and be responsible with Iowan’s tax dollars.
The governor also rolled out an aggressive plan for job creation and development. Part of his plan was the creation of the Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress (IPEP). This plan revitalizes the existing Iowa Department of Economic Development. The IPEP bill went through numerous subcommittees, committees and floor debates. In the end, it passed both chambers of the Legislature with overwhelmingly bipartisan support.
The new law replaces the Department of Economic Development with the Economic Development Authority. It will be run by a director who will be appointed by the governor to a four-year term and by an eleven member board that will oversee its operations. This new authority will run all of the programs previously run by the Department of Economic Development. However, it will be more agile and able to act in a proactive manner, rather than reactive. The Economic Development Authority will be responsible for developing a strategic plan for economic development in the state.
Also contained in the new law is the establishment of the Iowa Innovation Corporation. This new corporation is a nonprofit that qualifies as a 501 (3)(c). It is not considered an agency, department or administrative unit of the state. It will not receive appropriations from the General Assembly.
Instead, it will be an private sector led effort for economic development in the state. It will develop and implement marketing programs, provide information to new businesses, solicit the involvement of the private sector for economic development in the state, collect economic data, and numerous other job-creation functions.
Revamping the State’s economic development effort is not the simple fix to getting Iowans’ working again, but it is a positive step in the right direction. We should always be assessing the way we do things and ask ourselves if we can do better. I am excited about the energy and expertise Director Debi Durham brings to the department and I am optimistic about the prospect of improving economic opportunities in Iowa.
This weekend kicks off the start of a long calendar of Iowa’s pivotal role in the presidential selection process ñ the Ames Straw Poll. The country looks to Iowa to ask the tough questions, meet the candidates face to face and eventually narrow the field in the caucuses ñ choosing who is best to lead our country. It’s a very important role, and it’s one that Iowans take very seriously.
To that end, I would encourage you all to make time to visit the Straw Poll in Ames on Saturday. From 10am to 4pm, Iowans will gather at Hilton Coliseum to listen to speeches, visit with activists and take part in a fun and historic event. Media from across the globe come to Ames to talk to Iowans and listen to candidates tell Americans why they deserve to be president. We have a unique role in this process, one that we can be very proud of.
I will be spending Saturday in Ames, working with PURSE Iowa and VOICES of Conservative Women ñ they are groups that work to get more women involved in political office. Please stop by our tent and say hello. I hope to see you in Ames this weekend.