Community leaders in western Iowa hope to create a group that will give the rural region one voice before the legislature. Denison Chamber vice-president Troy Gehlsen hosted a meeting of about 30 representatives from ten rural communities.He says there’s a lot of issues affecting rural Iowa, and those areas want to see their opinions on the economic future are heard. Gehlsen says the local leaders discussed five rural-urban issues, including telecommunications, county consolidations, the state’s school tax, road-use taxes, and programs like Vision Iowa and the “CAT grants” for community attractions and tourism. He says the group doesn’t want to exclude groups like rural chambers or economic-development corporations. The rural Alliance is still in the process of coming together.He hopes to include an area from Minnesota to the Missouri border. Gehlsen emphasizes the group’s not forming to go head-to-head with urban chambers of commerce, but just to look out for the economic future of rural Iowa.
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