Government officials came to Iowa on Thursday to talk about how to help the community of Newton cope with the closing of Maytag, a major employer for decades. Kim Didier, director of Newton Development Corporation, says the community and the federal officials “learned a lot about each other” and about how they can partner to work through the transformation of the community and the broader regions during the exit of Maytag and the changes it’ll bring.
Didier says the government officials bring resources and strategies that align closely with the focus of the planners in Newton, and they ways they aim to move the community forward by developing talent and getting capital for entrepreneurs. She says, “Overall it was a very good meeting.” She says no promises were made during the Thursday meeting, but after the town’s presentation all the federal officials came up to compliment the community. She says they noted this group’s far ahead of the other communities they’ve worked with in the wake of large job losses like the departure of Maytag.
She says they commended the Iowa people on the work they’ve done, the direction they’ve laid out, the plan for a “visioning session” next week and in general the fact that they’re moving forward. The visiting government officials asked what locals wanted from them.
Didier says the redevelopment planners asked for contact names and phone numbers, so they can “plug in” directly with federal staff to get help with programs on a daily basis, and requested followup with federal officials so they can check on how they’re doing. Didier’s one of about 20 Newton leaders who met Thursday with representatives from agencies including labor, education, and health and human services. She says the federal officials commended Newton for the work it’s done already to move forward.