Gov. Reynolds announces Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative task forces

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced members on the three Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative task forces on Thursday.

Last month, the governor signed Executive Order No. 3, creating the initiative. She invited Iowans to apply for membership on the task forces: the Investing in Rural Iowa Task Force; the Growing Rural Iowa Task Force; and the Connecting Rural Iowa Task Force. Iowans had two weeks to apply, and in that time, the Governor’s Office received nearly 180 applications.

“As a product of rural Iowa, it’s a passion of mine to preserve and celebrate our state’s rich rural heritage,” Gov. Reynolds said. “I’m very proud of the task force members I’m appointing today. They are solutions-oriented, experienced and passionate about rural Iowa.”

Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg and Sandy Ehrig, chair of the Iowa Rural Development Council and leader of Iowa Farm Bureau’s Renew Rural Iowa program, will serve as co-chairs of the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative.

“With the governor’s appointments to the task forces today, our work can begin in earnest,” Lt. Gov. Gregg said. “The governor said she was looking for solutions-oriented Iowans. We found them, and now we’re going to get to work!”

The initiative will kick off in September with three Ideas Summits. Task force members will be asked to come with a developed proposal on how to address the topic.

There are also several ways the public can get involved. The Ideas Summits will be open to all Iowans and include time for public comment. Iowans who aren’t able to attend the Ideas Summits will be able to submit their ideas online at The website will also include more information on the task force members, meetings and news. Iowans can also engage with the initiative on social media (Facebook and Twitter).



Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg

Sandy Ehrig


Executive Council

Christopher Ball, Bloomfield

David Barker, Iowa City

Sue Cosner, West Des Moines

Dave Duncan, Clive

Steve Gilbert, Leon

Hollee McCormick, Harpers Ferry

Emily Schmitt, Clear Lake

Jenae Stokesbary, Pella

Jim Thompson, Ankeny


Investing in Rural Iowa Task Force - Ex-Officios

Sec. of Ag., Mike Naig

Sen. Mark Lofgren

Sen. Tod Bowman

Rep. David Kerr

Rep. Wes Breckenridge


Investing in Rural Iowa Task Force

David Barker, Iowa City

Joanie Bond, Earlham

Hunter Callanan, Clear Lake

Jude Conway, Adel

Sue Cosner, West Des Moines

Shannon Erb, Leon

Steve Gilbert, Leon

Lisa Houser, Monroe

Kiana Johnson, Primghar

Bob Josten, Clive

Stephanie Larscheid, Livermore

Vickie Larson, Mount Pleasant

Nathan Katzer, Cumming

Joshua Merchant, Storm Lake

Chuck Morris, Clarinda

Seth Moulton, Ankeny

Wayne Pantini, Creston

Mark Reinig, Elkader

Terri Rosonke, Prairie City

Nick Sorensen, Jefferson

Sarah Thompson, Radcliffe

Bret Wedemeyer, Casey


Growing Rural Iowa Task Force - Ex-Officios

Sec. of Ag., Mike Naig

Sen. Annette Sweeney

Sen. Amanda Ragan

Rep. Bobby Kaufmann

Rep. Amy Nielsen


Growing Rural Iowa Task Force

Kathy Anderson, Johnston

Whitney Baethke, Montezuma

Stacy Besch, Algona

Jennifer Crall, Ankeny

Rob Denson, Ankeny

Effie Hill, Fort Dodge

James Hoelscher, Cedar Falls

Philip Jones, Waverly

Caleb Knutson, Hubbard

Christian Lutz, Independence

Ashley Moyer, Birmingham

Jason Neises, Dubuque

Ron Reischl, Manning

Emily Schmitt, Clear Lake

Gerry Schnepf, Johnston

Jenae Stokesbary, Pella

Sharon Stroh, Ottumwa

Mike Taylor, Adel

Jim Thompson, Ankeny

Justin Wagner, Harlan

Bethany Wilcoxon, Des Moines

Rick Young, Jewell


Connecting Rural Iowa Task Force - Ex-Officios

Sec. of Ag., Mike Naig

Sen. Jake Chapman

Sen. Kevin Kinney

Rep. Jane Bloomingdale

Rep. Phil Miller


Connecting Rural Iowa Task Force

Bill Anderson, Pierson

Barb Baker, Grinnell

Christopher Ball, Bloomfield

Ryan Boone, Sioux Center

Sandee Buysse, Riverside

Josh Byrnes, Osage

Kevin Cabbage, Stanton

Dave Duncan, Clive

Stacie Euken, Wiota

Dennis Fraise, Burlington

Caleb Housh, Seymour

Billi Hunt, Urbandale

Linc Kroeger, Des Moines

Katherine LaBree, Aplington

Danna Larson, Odebolt

Deb Lucht, Minburn

Patricia Manuel, Olin

Hollee McCormick, Harpers Ferry

Grant Menke, Ankeny

Tom Petersen, Cedar Rapids

Steve Simons, Larchwood

Stacey Stewart, Cedar Rapids