On February 01, I had an opportunity to represent PDI on a ‘Partners Panel’ at the Iowa Chamber of Commerce Executives annual conference. The panel included IEDA Director Debi Durham, IEDA Tourism Director Shawna Lode, Gubernatorial Special Assistant for Education Linda Fandel, Iowa Chamber Alliance Executive Director John Stineman and Iowa Blue Zone Director Mary Lawyer. With a table that diverse, topics of discussion were many, but I was struck by how consistent virtually each participant’s message and, subsequently, the substance of each audience member’s line of questioning, was.
Certainly, the calendar would suggest that advocacy is on the collective minds of community and economic development groups across the state, but that morning the tenor was more pronounced than your typical in-session get-your-message-out pleas. It was more urgent, more defined and more pragmatic. I think it’s because we are all sensing the same thing: real economic growth is happening across this state, but much more is within our grasp and a big part of making that reach has to do with what our statewide leaders choose to do on a number of issues that PDI and our partner organizations are advocating for. They include a balanced approach to commercial property tax reform to improve our competitiveness, healthy economic development direct financial assistance funding to permit the closing of more deals for more jobs, raising the tax credits cap to make room for the project growth to come and pushing for an education reform package which truly impacts and improves the workforce preparedness of Iowa’s students.
If all we did at this association was legislative advocacy, this message would be over and you could get on with the newsletter and your day, but it isn’t [sorry]. We educate, which is why if you haven’t already, complete your registration right now for the February 26 PDI Workforce Summit, which will bring together numerous workforce service providers and resources for a daylong discussion and education session on the #1 issue for economic development in Iowa. Spend the night the 26th and plan to attend Grow Iowa Day on the 27th, which will see tons of PDI members take to the Capitol rotunda for [pizza and] conversation with our legislators. This is one of PDI’s highest-profile events; if you’ve not been before, is truly is an event not to miss.
Oh, and pay your member dues, will you?
President, Professional Developers of Iowa