Reynolds, Gregg visit Perry for economic development meeting

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A joint meeting of the Iowa Rural Development Council and Empower Rural Iowa Task Force was held Wednesday at La Poste in Perry.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg attended a joint meeting Wednesday of the Iowa Rural Development Council and Empower Rural Iowa Task Force at La Poste in Perry.

Gregg attended the morning meeting of the Iowa Rural Development Council (IRDC), and both state officeholders graced the joint afternoon meeting.

The meeting included remarks from IRDC Chair Sandy Ehrig, Lt. Gov. Gregg and Gov. Reynolds, followed by Connect Task Force recommendations, Grow Task Force recommendations and Invest Task Force recommendations.

Local personages from Perry’s economic-development circles also attended the event, which was sponsored by Perry Economic Development Inc., Perry Industries Inc., Raccoon Valley Bank and Minburn Communications.

Among other business, the Empower Rural Iowa Initiative officially adopted its legislative recommendations to present to Reynolds for the 2020 session. The task forces considered ideas from task force members, industry experts and public input to develop recommendations for the governor’s consideration as she looks to build on the success made in 2019.

“By connecting, investing and growing our rural communities, we can ensure Iowa’s success is every Iowans’ success,” Reynolds said. “We know how to come together to think differently and build an Iowa that shatters expectations. The efforts made today will allow us to build on the significant achievements made in 2019 to expand, grow and revitalize rural Iowa.”

Ehrig echoed the governor’s positive message of health and growth for rural communities.

“I appreciate the opportunity to co-chair the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative and look forward to working with her administration to build on the success from this past year,” Ehrig said. “I want to thank task force members for putting together these recommendations that seek to better connect, invest and grow our rural communities.”

The Empower Rural Iowa Act, passed unanimously by the Iowa Legislature, provides incentives for broadband connectivity and workforce housing in rural communities.

The IRDC was created as part of the 1992 Farm Bill. Federal funding ceased in 2005, but the organization has remained active through private-public support. The IRDC executive director is Bill Menner, former state director of the USDA Rural Development office.

Current IRDC sponsors include the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Unity Point Health, Alliant Energy, Grinnell Mutual, IADG Community Foundation, Iowa Economic Development Authority, Iowa State University,  MercyOne, MidAmerican Energy, Aureon, BKD LLP, Delta Dental, Des Moines Area Community College, Farmers Mutual Telephone Co., Gilbert Plumbing and Heating, ITC Midwest, Iowa Area Development Group, Iowa Association of Business and Industry, Iowa Bankers Association, Iowa Finance Authority, Iowa Communications Alliance, McClure, Pillar Technology, The Bill Menner Group, Trusted Energy, University of Iowa, University of Northern Iowa, Black Hills Energy, Dorsey and Whitney LLP, Lincoln Savings Bank, Manning Municipal Light Plant, Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area, VITAL Financial Services, ASI Signage, Mount Ayr, Community Bankers of Iowa, Iowa Biotechnology Association, Iowa Association of Community College Trustees, Iowa Association of Councils of Government, Iowa Habitat for Humanity, JEO Consulting, Keep Iowa Beautiful and U.S. Small Business Administration.

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