The Iowa Rural Development Council and the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa initiative hosted a joint meeting on Wednesday, July 3, 2019 in Mt. Ayr. More than 90 people attended and participated in a “resource fair” that allowed state, federal and private business representative to showcase their abilities to help grow rural Iowa.
Governor Reynolds and Lt. Governor Gregg both attended and gave presentations on the Empower Rural Iowa initiative. Lt. Governor Gregg outlined his vision for the advocacy efforts over the remainder of 2019, including the development of a program to award $100,000 in pilot project grant funds to spur rural broadband connectivity and usage in Iowa.
Governor Reynolds and Lt. Governor Gregg also encouraged the Connecting Rural Iowa task force to ramp up its advocacy efforts to persuade the legislature to increase the funding for the Broadband Grant program to $15 million next year. Both stated that an important aspect of this will be to generate high demand for this next round of $5 million in grant funding that should be up for bid during fall 2019.
During the resource fair, ICA members Deb Lucht and Ryan Boone met with Congresswoman Cindy Axne to discuss the role of Congress in removing barriers to rural broadband buildout.