ABI Participates in Empower Rural Iowa Initiative

September 20, 2018

Gov. Reynolds announced the creation of the Empower Rural Iowa Initiative in July by executive order, and meetings of the three Empower Rural Iowa task forces have begun. ABI has taken an active role in the task forces and in following the initiative, which is focused on gathering ideas to tackle issues facing rural Iowa.

Last week, Jessica Hyland and Brad Hartkopf attended the Invest Rural Iowa task force meeting in Earlham. A good portion of the meeting was spent hearing from panelists and talking about issues facing housing in rural Iowa. More meetings will be held and recommendations will be released late this fall. We expect the governor and Legislature will consider these recommendations as part of a legislative package in 2019.

At the first Grow Rural Iowa Task Force Meeting on September 6, Vice President, ABI Foundation Programs Kay Neumann-Thomas, spoke on growing leadership throughout the state, including the history and strength of the ABI Foundation’s leadership programs and specific examples of how alumni have leveraged that program to change their own communities. In addition to Gov. Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Gregg and Neumann-Thomas, task force members shared a wide variety of strategies for growing Iowa including potential tax credits for new Iowans and additional marketing to draw an influx of citizens.

ABI members with ideas for additional growth and leadership in rural Iowa may submit their ideas online or share them with ABI’s Kathy Anderson, who is appointed to the Grow Rural Iowa Task Force. For policy suggestions, please contact Brad Hartkopf.