The Rebuild Iowa Commission met for the first time today in Des Moines. Governor Chet Culver appointed the 15-member panel to help the state recover from last month’s record flooding.
"We are beginning an effort which could take years, but Iowans know hard work and Iowans know patience and they also understand the importance of locking arms and working together," Culver said, "and I am confident that although the process will be long and hard, tomorrow will be better than today."
The panel includes civic leaders representing everything from banking to construction to agriculture. Culver has asked the task force to report back in 45 days with recommendations for rebuilding. "I think all of us here today are really assembled for one reason," Culver said. "We all love the state of how and now it’s our job to make sure that we rebuild Iowa so that it is even better, even stronger and even safer for all of our citizens."
Culver says he will likely call a special session of the legislature for sometime in September to deal with flood related issues. State officials are still working to place a dollar figure on the damage from flooding, but Culver says the early estimates are staggering.
The damage to Cedar Rapids alone has been placed at one billion dollars and damage to farm land in the state could top four billion. "Three-hundred-fourty cities and towns have been affected, more than 45-thousand square miles," Culver said.