The chambers of commerce in St. Louis, Kansas City, Omaha and Des Moines have to created the Heartland Civic Collaborative.
It’s modeled after so-called “mega-region” initiatives across the country formed to build stronger regional economies through cooperation. The CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Jay Byers, says the collaboration will give the Midwest a louder voice when lobbying for federal support.
“When you’re competing at a global level, being able to work closely with our neighbors in Omaha and St. Louis and Kansas City on these joint efforts, lobbying our Congressional delegation for more transportation funding for the Midwest,” he says. The other priority areas for the Heartland Civic Collaborative are life sciences, entrepreneurship, education and workforce development.
“We are competing at a global level and we have to figure out ways to work better together because there are cities, for example, Beijing and Shanghai with 20 million people, that’s who we’re competing against, we have to figure out how as a mega-region we can leverage our assets,” Byers says.
The collaborative has already developed a federal advocacy agenda, which officials say “elevates and unifies the voice of the region on national policy debates.”
Thanks to Rob Dillard, IPR