Government

Child care, broadband top Gov. Reynolds' Economic Recovery Advisory Board recommendations

Group unanimously approves more than 50 recommendations for Iowa

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds updates the state's response to the coronavirus outbreak during a news conference, Tuesday, Sept.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds updates the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak during a news conference, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, in Johnston, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Child care availability and universal broadband access topped the list of 50-plus recommendations from Gov. Kim Reynolds’ Economic Recovery Advisory Board that Reynolds will use as the “foundation” of her 2021 legislative agenda.

The board unanimously approved the recommendations Tuesday and plans to present the final recommendations to Reynolds on Oct. 15.

The top 18 recommendations covered a variety of topics, ranging from further support for developing the health care workforce to increased housing supply.

“We’ve always had a real winner with the virtual care and telehealth services, but this other recommendation is what allows us to have enough telehealth providers,” Suresh Gunasekaran, the chief executive officer of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, said at Tuesday’s meeting.

Partnerships between schools and businesses for “work-based learning,” long-term water quality funding, manufacturing modernization and an increase in “educational choices for families” also were among the top 18 recommendations.

“There’s no single easy solution to jump-starting our economy and moving Iowa into a robust growth mode,” Reynolds told the board Tuesday.

The board put other items, such as consolidation of “redundant or superfluous government entities” and carbon sequestration in agriculture, on a “just do it” list that Reynolds could quickly implement.

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For example, Iowa Chief Information Officer Annette Dunn already has been “actively working on” bringing in new technology for broadband access.

“What the governor has said to me is, ‘Whatever it takes to get broadband to Iowans is what you need to do,’ ” Dunn said.

The Economic Recovery Advisory Board met seven times since June, with perspectives from executives from major Iowa companies, including Hy-Vee, MidAmerican Energy and Principal Financial, along with state department directors. Many of the board members have also contributed to the Kim Reynolds for Iowa political campaign.

Comments: (319) 398-8394; john.steppe@thegazette.com

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