Gov. Reynolds creates ‘Empower Rural Iowa Initiative’

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed Executive Order No. 3 Wednesday, creating the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative. The governor also announced the initiative’s co-chairs: Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg and Sandy Ehrig of the Iowa Rural Development Council.

“I’m a product of rural Iowa, and I’m driven to create opportunity throughout this state,” Gov. Reynolds said. “I believe the heart, soul and spirit of Iowa will always remain in our small towns and rural communities. That’s why I’m creating the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative. I want concrete solutions for the unique challenges of rural Iowa in order to maintain its vibrancy and ensure there is opportunity everywhere.”

The initiative establishes a partnership with the Iowa Rural Development Council to identify needed legislative, regulatory and policy changes. Recommendations will be provided by an executive committee and three task forces: the Investing in Rural Iowa Task Force; the Growing Rural Iowa Task Force; and the Connecting Rural Iowa Task Force.

The Investing in Rural Iowa Task Force will focus its recommendations on improving access to quality housing in rural Iowa. The Growing Rural Iowa Task Force will focus on identifying ways to encourage leadership development and strategic development in rural communities. The Connecting Rural Iowa Task Force will look into effectively and sustainably financing connectivity.

“This is just the starting point for initial recommendations,” Lt. Gov. Gregg said. “The work of the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative will be ongoing, and the task forces will work on other issues within their scope in the years to come.”

The task forces will begin meeting this fall. Initial recommendations will be due by the end of the year so they can be considered during the 2019 legislative session.

Iowans interested in being a part of a task force should click here to apply by August 1. Gov. Reynolds is looking for diverse members who share an interest in empowering rural Iowa for generations to come.

Click here to read the executive order.