End of Campaigns Marks New Work to be Done

Nov 17, 2020

Having spent more than a dozen pre-social media years in old-fashioned print journalism, I know the challenges of discussing politics in a column written before, but published after, Election Day. That’s true of this Report letter, though I’m confident I’m on safe ground with this message of optimism.

We know almost half the people are disappointed in whatever the election results are, not to mention exhausted and perhaps a bit leery about what’s to come. But for us, this is finally a time to get to work on a great opportunity for unity and collaboration instead of division and rancor. Many of the most important city, county, state and federal legislative priorities of this region’s business community are bipartisan in nature, and we can and should make progress in upcoming sessions by working together.

The Economic Alliance builds a legislative agenda each year by listening to priorities of our members, convening our Innovation Councils, collaborating with other business associations, working with city, county and regional leaders and elected officials, and collecting and prioritizing the issues that will grow the economy, strengthen the workforce and help businesses succeed. We’re proud to once again partner with the Iowa City Area Business Partnership to jointly adopt unified state and federal legislative priorities. It is in this collaboration that the joint legislative agenda draws its strength and effectiveness.

Many economic development and community growth initiatives resonate with both sides of the aisle. Details and compromise aren’t always easy, but much of our legislative agenda each year is broadly supported. There’s also a pragmatic tilt to our work. We take our broad legislative goals and align them to specific priorities most likely to make progress given the makeup of the legislative chambers and the executive branch. Not every issue gets attention every year, but the list of potential accomplishments is long if lawmakers are willing to work together.

We are currently finalizing our full 2021 legislative agenda, which we will share and make available in early December. In case you don’t get to it, know that we’ll be working hard on bipartisan issues such as childcare, immigration, affordable housing, health care and workforce development including issues like fair-chance hiring. Iowa’s economy has weathered the craziness of 2020 better than many states, and there will be opportunities for smart investments in things such as the expansion of broadband infrastructure and community attractions that add to the placemaking and quality of life amenities so many communities have planned.

Our agenda also includes mention of civil debate. We’ve pledged to model that behavior ourselves and to publicly point out good examples of bipartisan work. That may have been hard to find during the campaign season, but as our elected officials now turn to governing, we will continue to call for a more civil and cooperative approach to solving our shared issues.

The campaigns and the election are over. Let the governing begin, please.


Doug Neumann

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