Governor Kim Reynolds and Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg are seeking re-election in the November 2018 election and want Iowans to know what they have been working on recently.
Gregg said one of the recent projects that has been at the forefront of their attention is the new tariffs that have been impacting farmers. He wants people to know they are working at the national level to make sure that Iowa farmers are taken care of, including meetings with President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence, as well as senators and house representatives.
“It’s a matter of making sure that the folks who are making decisions on behalf of the country at the federal level, understand Iowa’s perspective on this and how important it is that we have international markets for our products,” Gregg said.
Reynolds announced a disaster proclamation this week allowing for those affected by last week’s tornadoes to receive government assistance.
It opens up state assistance for local officials to get things cleaned up, but also opens up a grant program for individuals that qualify.
Iowans that are at or below 200% of the Iowa poverty level can receive a $5,000 grant to reimburse costs resulting from the storm.
Gregg said this grant can be flexible and can include repairing their house, hotel costs if someone is dispersed from their home and other costs of this nature.
Reynolds and Gregg have been traveling across the state of Iowa during their campaign. The governor recently made a stop in Pella to see the damage at the Vermeer Manufacturing from the tornadoes that hit Iowa last week.
“We’ve had the opportunity to visit and see some of the damage from the tornadoes and we always come away inspired. As heartbreaking as it is to see that, what you also see is you see Iowans coming together,” Gregg said. “Helping each other, helping their neighbors, helping recover as quickly as possible, and that is really inspiring.”
They have also made several stops at county fairs and Gregg said the state of Iowa is in a great situation right now.
“In the state of Iowa we have an incredible story to tell right now. U.S. World and News Report called us the number one state in the nation because we’re good at a lot of different things, Gregg said.
“We’ve got historically low unemployment, we’re sitting right now at 2.7% unemployment, that’s the third lowest in the country. What that means for Iowans is that there are abundant jobs and opportunities available in every corner of the state, at every skill level, at every wage level. So, we want to continue to make investments to make sure Iowans have the skills and training they need to take on those positions,” Gregg continued.
Gregg also discussed the investments Iowa has made in K-12 education and the impact it has had. The state put $3.2 billion towards education, which is nearly 45% of their general budget.
Only three states in the country have increased K-12 education spending at a higher rate than the state of Iowa.
Even with the work they have done, Gregg said they is more still to do.
“Most of all we’re talking about how we’re not done yet. We have to continue to make improvements. We can’t be satisfied with the status quo. We have to always be working on building a better Iowa,” Gregg said.
Last week, Governor Reynolds signed an executive order that created the Empower Rural Iowa Initiative.
The initiative creates three task forces that will focus on investing in, growing and connecting rural Iowa.
Their first step will be to work on the housing crisis facing rural Iowa in which there are not enough market rate homes to recruit workers to small towns where there are jobs available.
Task forces will also work to encourage leadership and strategic planning in the rural communities as well.
“If small towns are going to survive and thrive, there’s got to be strong leadership in each of those communities and a next generation of leadership that’s ready to go to take the reins,” Gregg said.
Gregg said the initiative shows how much Reynolds is committed to rural Iowa, partially because both he and the governor come from small towns.
“Sometimes the corners of the state feel like Des Moines forgets about them. Well, the governor and I are folks who won’t forget about them because that’s us, that’s who we are. So, what is shows is a commitment to rural Iowa, a commitment to making sure there’s opportunity and prosperity available in every corner, all across our state,” Gregg said.