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Branstad, Reynolds visit Mason City to discuss goals


This news story was published on January 20, 2012.
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by Kacie Krominga –

MASON CITY – Thursday, Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds held a meeting at Kaplan University to discuss future plans for Iowa.

The two critical priorities they covered were creating jobs to raise income and adopting common sense plans to improve education.

Among the topics shared, Branstad said that Iowa needs to compete worldwide and that will be possible by creating more jobs.

The goal is to bring 200,000 more jobs in the next five years.

In his four-point plan, Branstad wants to do that by first, reducing commercial property taxes since Iowa’s property taxes are the second highest in the nation. He hopes to have it reduced by 40 percent in the next eight years.

His second point is to invest more in the High Quality Jobs Program, which will “give the Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress an important tool in attracting high-quality business.”

Along with that, he’d like to see small businesses increase in order to support the already major anchor manufacturers such as John Deere, which will also increase job opportunities.

The last goal is to maintain Iowa’s hometown business – especially when new ownership comes around.

“This is not a just a tool for Iowa businesses; it is a tool for Iowa communities,” as quoted from today’s flyer handout.

Not only is the state looking to improve the job outlook of Iowa, education reform is equally as important.

Reynolds lead discussion of the reform by pointing a few major topics among many they wish to change.

One main thing that they hope to change is the quality of teachers in Iowa. Students studying to become a teacher must maintain a 3.0 GPA.

After one audience member pointed out that having a substantial grade point average doesn’t necessarily mean a student would be good at teaching. Reynolds said that requiring more student teaching or clinical type of experience, such as medical students obtain, would also be considered for the reform.

Another change for teachers would be having annual evaluations instead of every three years.

Other potential changes would focus on making sure children are ready to move forward in school. Preschoolers would be tested out to ensure readiness for kindergarten, third graders would need to have a good sense of literacy by third grade and high-schoolers would also be tested out to ensure they have a solid foundation of knowledge in core academic areas.

More information on Branstad and Reynolds goals for Iowa’s future can be found at www.governor.iowa.gov

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