Gov. Reynolds highlights Rural Iowa Initiative

Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg stopped in Anamosa on March 22 to highlight the Governor’s “Unleashing Opportunity” Tour. They highlighted education in Iowa, and shared why Iowa is on top. (Photo by Pete Temple)
Disagrees with federal administration on NAFTA, tariffs
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     “Working together” was the theme of Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg’s visit to Jones County on March 22.

     The team stopped at McOtto’s restaurant to visit with constituents as part of Reynolds’ “Unleashing Opportunity” tour across Iowa. Those opportunities include expanding the workforce, providing real tax relief, improving healthcare, and combat addiction.

     Reynolds said so much been accomplished this legislative session in Des Moines, with both parties working across the aisle. She also praised Iowa’s First District congressional delegates (Grassley, Ernst, and Blum), for working together for the benefit of Iowans.

     Both Reynolds and Gregg grew up in rural Iowa towns, St. Charles and Hawarden respectively. Reynolds is also running for re-election this year.

     Gregg said as products of rural Iowa, that’s why he’s proud to lead Reynolds’ Rural Iowa Initiative.

     “In my Condition of the State, I talked about strengthening rural Iowa,” said Reynolds. “I want to make sure rural Iowa is vibrant and growing.”

     While the Rural Iowa Initiative is just in its infant stages, Gregg said it’s taking shape.

     “We’re passionate about making sure they are opportunity and prosperity in rural Iowa.

     “The initiative would bring together leaders from all different backgrounds to put together plan for how to encourage investment in rural Iowa, grow rural Iowa, and grow the next generation of leadership for our communities,” concluded Gregg.

     Both Reynolds and Gregg shared impressive figures about Iowa in comparison to the rest of the country:

     • #1 state in country for middle-class families

     • #1 high school graduation rate

     • #3 best-managed state

     • #2 lowest cost for doing business

     • Fourth lowest unemployment rate at 2.9 percent

     “Sometimes the news is so doom and gloom. Don’t believe all of the negative naysayers,” said Reynolds. “We have a lot of positive things happening in the state, and we should be really proud of that.”

     Reynolds said Iowa’s education system is still on top.

     Legislators have invested $765 million of new money into K-12 education over the past seven years. “There are only three other states that have invested at a higher level in K-12 education than Iowa, looking back over the past 10 years,” offered Reynolds.

     “But we have to be careful to not fall into the trap where we’re measuring the quality of education by the sheer number of dollars that we’re putting in. If we’re not preparing our young people for the future, then we’re failing.”

     Reynolds’s Future Ready Iowa initiative is a way to promote the various job opportunities that exist in communities all across the state. “It connects Iowans both young and old to the great jobs that exist in communities all across the state,” she said.

     Reynolds praised the federal government for passing tax reform, and said Iowa needs to follow in line as well.

     “Both chambers are talking about it,” she said. “We have great ideas, and it’s an opportunity to eliminate federal deductibility and pass those same savings on to Iowans.”

     She said the federal government, though needs to make healthcare affordable for all, and leave NAFTA and tariffs alone.

     “Trade is so important to Iowa,” Reynolds said.

     One in five jobs is attributed to Iowa’s ability to export goods and commodities. One in three rows of soybeans is planted for export. Ninety-eight percent of Iowa’s purchasing power is outside of the U.S.

     “It is a global economy,” added Reynolds. “So we want to make sure that we have free and fair trade.”

     She said the state and Iowa’s congressional delegation are on board for keeping NAFTA, but not in favor of pulling out. “That would be devastating to our pretty fragile economy, especially our rural economy here in Iowa. We want to support this administration, but this one area we just don’t agree on.”



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