Governor-elect Branstad intends to hold public hearings around the state over the next few weeks to give Iowans a chance to sound-off about the state budget and other priority issues. The first hearing is scheduled for later this morning in Sioux City and the focus is on job creation.

“When I announced my intention to run for governor again I stated a very ambitious goal of 200,000 new jobs over the next five years and I know the governor cannot do this alone,” Branstad says. “And I know it’s the private sector — not the public sector — that’s going to create a growing and dynamic economy, but it will take all of us, working together, to find the solutions to moving Iowa’s economy forward.”

Branstad says he wants to assure Iowans his “door will always be open” to their ideas, and that’s why he’s holding public forums to review areas of the state budget as well as consider other agenda items. “We’re intending to make dramatic changes and unfortunately we’ve got a limited amount of time in which to do it,” Branstad says.  “But we’re excited about the opportunity.” 

According to Branstad, there is a “new day” in states across the country, and state budget cuts are at the top of the agenda. “Look at the governors that were elected last year: Governor Christie in New Jersey and Governor McDonnell in Virginia. They’re doing it and I think the new governors — and I’m part of this new crop of governors coming in — I think we got the message and I think you’re going to be seeing us make the tough decisions.”

Branstad’s first “town hall” meeting will begin at 10 o’clock this morning in the downtown library in Sioux City.  He’ll be at the Council Bluffs library at one o’clock for another town hall meeting this afternoon.  On Tuesday, Branstad will hold a town hall meeting about jobs and the economy at the West Des Moines Public Library.  That hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:30. 

Later this week, on Thursday, Branstad will hold hearings about ag policy and the state’s Medicaid budget, and those events will be open to the public as well.