Iowa to use pandemic funds for marketing campaign in hopes of attracting workers

Governor Kim Reynolds speaks at a business and industry conference in Coralville

Governor Kim Reynolds addresses the Iowa Association of Business and Industry conference at the Coralville Marriott Hotel & Conference Center on Wednesday. (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

CORALVILLE – Gov. Kim Reynolds said on Wednesday she would use pandemic relief funds for a marketing campaign to persuade people to move to Iowa, a state that has a surplus of jobs and has lifted COVID-19 restrictions faster than other states.

“We’re going to do a major promotional campaign to highlight the beautiful things that are happening in the state,” Reynolds told about 200 people gathered for the Iowa Association of Business and Industry conference at the Coralville Marriott Hotel & Conference. Center. “We are already starting to see people coming back who have been to the east coast and the west coast – Iowans who have left and who recognize not only that we have kept our economy open, but that we have kept our children in school. . “

The Republican governor said her administration was developing a plan for how to spend the state government’s share of the $ 4 billion US bailout funds that are expected to flow to state and local governments.

“This is definitely an area where we can use some of these funds,” she said.

The message Reynolds would share in the campaign, she said, would be about the healthy budget of Iowa – with a $ 305 million budget surplus – and how the legislature earlier this year cut taxes. and passed bills to improve access to child care services. She also noted twice in Wednesday’s speech that personal finance website WalletHub said Iowa is the state with the fewest COVID-19 restrictions.

Governor Kim Reynolds arrives Wednesday to address the Iowa Association of Business and Industry conference at the Coralville Marriott Hotel & Conference Center. “We’re going to do a major promotional campaign to highlight the great things that are happening in the state,” Reynolds told about 200 people gathered for the conference. (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

Reynolds is so confident in the Iowa economy that she ended Iowa’s participation in additional $ 300 unemployment benefits for unemployed Iowans. Iowa is one of 25 states – most of those with Republican governors – that withdrew from the stimulus package before it expired. Those benefits end for the Iowan on Saturday.

She told conference members her decision was based on the number of Iowa employers who can’t find enough workers and the inherent value of the job.

“With 100 million Americans sitting on the fringes of the job market, I’m as concerned about the cultural effects of this job denigration as the immediate impact,” she said. “Both have provided me with more than enough reason to take the stand I have taken. “

Reynolds said higher education institutions in Iowa must work to prepare students for the jobs that need to be filled in the state, including in manufacturing. She signed a budget for fiscal year 2022 that includes $ 23 million for the Last Dollar scholarships, which go to students in in-demand fields, and $ 4.2 million for an Employer Innovation Fund, a- she declared.

Governor Kim Reynolds listens to a question from a reporter Wednesday after speaking at the Iowa Association of Business and Industry conference at the Coralville Marriott Hotel & Conference Center. (Liz Martin / The Gazette)

When a reporter asked Reynolds about the Nevada state’s efforts to get ahead of the Iowa caucuses with a presidential primary every four years, Reynolds said she had not spoken with the Nevada governor, Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, but left those conversations to Iowa. party chairs.

“We’re doing it right,” she said of the Iowa premieres caucuses. “We know the stakes. Anyone can come to Iowa, no matter where they are from, and have good luck. We will continue to do all we can to maintain it.

Reynolds has indicated that she will likely convene a special session of the Iowa legislature later this year to redraw political boundaries once the 2020 census figures are available. But she declined to say whether she would like the Legislature to address other topics, such as her proposal to ban transgender girls from participating in women’s sports.

“When I call a special session, this (redistribution) will be the focus,” she told reporters. “I can’t figure out what’s going on, but that’s my goal. “

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