Urban and Rural Alignment in Public Policy

Aug 25, 2020

The Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance focuses on the growth of our region. We work with our members and partners to prioritize and implement strategies that make local businesses, organizations, and our region successful. Our public policy strategy starts with a regional unified voice, and our region’s diversity gives our advocacy work a big boost.

While our pro-growth policy principles remain consistent each year, our strategy to achieve them hinges on which political majorities control each chamber of the state legislature, governor’s office, both houses of Congress and the White House, and the priorities expressed by each of them. As we listen and read the political “tea leaves,” we can rely on our region’s diversity of interests to develop a strong unified regional voice. No matter who is in power, we can achieve results in one aspect or another.

Together with our partners at the Iowa City Area Business Partnership, the Economic Alliance leads regional efforts in Des Moines and Washington, DC. What we advocate for is based on input from leaders from business, education, nonprofit, government and economic development in all of the ICR counties.

Our region is made up of seven counties, and approximately 450,000 residents. Together we are represented by a total of 28 state legislators and four federally elected officials. In public policy advocacy, there is power in numbers so it makes sense that we should work together to advocate as whole for our region. One thing is clear – the success of urban and rural Iowa is closely aligned.

Nothing demonstrated our alignment better than issues of international trade and the emergence of a hemp industry. From manufacturers to farmers, trade policies have affected our entire region. It’s why we advocated for the passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) agreement and elimination of barriers on American goods. We pushed for the Iowa Hemp Act to pass, as hemp has the potential to open new markets for our farmers and businesses. Hemp can be used to produce a magnitude of existing and potential products.

Past regional priorities have included supporting programs that address workforce needs, preserving economic development programs that help retain and recruit business, job creating immigration reform and high-speed broadband expansion.

As our advocacy strategy for 2021 begins to take shape, our region’s diversity will remain our greatest asset, making it easier to work toward aggressive, forward-thinking policies that will get us through recovery and make Iowa stronger.

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