Advocacy Strategies Remain Focused
Jun 22, 2020
It seems more like five years ago rather than five months ago when the Economic Alliance joined with our partners from Iowa City to launch our region’s 2020 state and federal priorities. As always prior to the launch, we held numerous meetings with members and stakeholders from across the state to develop our annual public policy agenda that best represents the needs of Economic Alliance members and the needs of the region.
Five months and a global pandemic later, our advocacy work continues in unexpected ways. With our members’ needs in mind, we made the split decision for a short-term pivot from our well-thought-out plan to one of survival and relief. As businesses began to temporarily shut down or lose customers, we stepped up our advocacy knowing the most immediate help in the early days was on the federal level. Countless emails, phone and video calls with federal staff and elected officials allowed us to become a lifeline resource for our region’s business community and enabled us to address both general business issues and very specific needs. In those early days, it was vital to have a team that knew how to navigate the federal government to help address members’ concerns.
Certainly, focusing on financial relief for our businesses remains a top priority, and as our work toward recovery continues to take shape, it’s clear that part of it includes a skilled workforce more than ever. For years, our public policy priorities focused on our region’s workforce needs. That hasn’t changed. But what has changed is the overnight flip from a region with more jobs available than people to fill them to one that is faced with the highest workforce unemployment of our lifetimes.
The need to grow, retain and attract business and workers remains evident, and we’ll continue to focus on policies that ease the way for employers to rebound, keep their employees and grow their businesses.
We will continue to advocate for pro-growth business regulations and the elimination of employee barriers through expansion of Pell Grant recipients and through more affordable, quality and accessible child care. We’ll also continue advocating for policies that help spur job growth and better align with employment needs through immigration reform, attractive tax policies, full funding of the PK-12 public school systems and Future Ready Iowa initiatives. And just as important to highlight is the expansion of reliable high-speed broadband and advocating for permanent funding sources for community placemaking projects to retain and attract workers.
As we continue to strategize on our advocacy work, one thing remains glaringly clear. Our most significant, powerful and influential key to our advocacy comes from our members. It is your stories, requests and ideas that are needed to continue to work for aggressive, forward-thinking policies that will get us through recovery and make Iowa stronger.
View our public policy focus in its entirety at www.cedarrapids.org/publicpolicy.