Iowa’s leading business executives, developers and farm groups have formed a coalition called “Iowans for a Better Future” and held a statehouse news conference today to call for passage of a nearly billion dollar state economic development fund. Jerry Kelley, executive director of the newly-formed group, says Iowans are too afraid of taking a chance. Kelley says growing the new economy is going to require Iowans to change that mindset. He says some things may fail, but “if we don’t fail, nothing’s going to succeed.” Bill Horan of the Corn Growers Association raises crops that’re turned into pharmaceuticals.Horan says “hopefully this press conference can turn into a weapon of mass instruction” and will encourage lawmakers to act. Dick Jacobson, a businessman and philanthropist from Des Moines, says Iowa’s economy needs this kind of a jump-start. Jacobson says one thing is certain, what Iowa’s doing now isn’t working and “if we don’t become aggressive and take some risks now, nothing’s going to happen.” David Oman, a former Republican candidate for Governor who’s now heading the Iowa Child Foundation, says the economic development fund will create a climate for change.Oman says he hopes bringing the state’s top business leaders together will give the idea “oxygen” and encourage legislators to act. The bill that creates a new state economic growth fund has cleared one House Committee and await action in another.
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