The new director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development says Iowa policymakers have a small window of opportunity to make bold changes, or there’s no reason to have a Department of Economic Development. He says if they don’t respond today, there won’t be a tomorrow.Michael Blouin testified today before the House Economic Growth Committee, and urged legislators of both parties to “take a risk” and throw any and all ideas on the table.Blouin says Iowa won’t have a chance to “get in the game” for very long as the life sciences industry is moving way to fast.Blouin says it’s not realistic to set a goal of having 950 towns grow, but it is realistic to aim to make 25 regions of the state flourish, economically. Blouin met this morning with officials from Iowa State University’s research park to discuss the start-up biotech companies there, all of which are being courted by other states. Blouin says it’s crucial to do what it takes to keep those companies here. He says if Iowa misses the mark, there’s no reason to have a Department of Economic Development. Blouin, a former Congressman from eastern Iowa, has been leader of the Chambers of Commerce in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. He recently had a patch of skin cancer removed on his temple, and is sporting a patch to cover the area.
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