Governor Kim Reynolds.

“Idea summits” will be held in September as three new “Empower Rural Iowa” task forces examine ways to elevate rural leaders, boost broadband access and make more housing available in rural Iowa. Nearly 180 Iowans applied to participate and about half were appointed by the governor.

“With the governor’s appointments today, our work can begin in earnest,” acting Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg said during a news conference at the State Fair. “…There are ways for the public to get involved, even if they’re not on the task forces.”

Iowans may submit ideas online  or testify at one of the three “summits.” The first is scheduled for September 6 in Holstein and will focus on connecting more Iowans to broadband service The second will be held September 7 in Mount Pleasant and explore ways to spark strategic planning and development of new leaders in rural Iowa. The third will be held in Earlham on September 14 and focus on getting more investment into rural Iowa, particularly in housing.

Sandy Ehrig, chair of the Iowa Rural Development Council, is a co-chair of the initiative. She said task force members will be asked to come to the summits with at least one written idea on how to address the topic.

“We need everybody,” Ehrig said. “It takes all of us.”

Empower Rural Iowa Executive Council

Christopher Ball, Bloomfield

David Barker, Iowa City

Sue Cosner, West Des Moines

Dave Duncan, Clive

Steve Gilbert, Leon

Hollee McCormick, Harpers Ferry

Emily Schmitt, Clear Lake

Jenae Stokesbary, Pella

Jim Thompson, Ankeny

Investing in Rural Iowa Task Force – Ex-Officios

Sec. of Ag., Mike Naig

Sen. Mark Lofgren

Sen. Tod Bowman

Rep. David Kerr

Rep. Wes Breckenridge

Investing in Rural Iowa Task Force

David Barker, Iowa City

Joanie Bond, Earlham

Hunter Callanan, Clear Lake

Jude Conway, Adel

Sue Cosner, West Des Moines

Shannon Erb, Leon

Steve Gilbert, Leon

Lisa Houser, Monroe

Kiana Johnson, Primghar

Bob Josten, Clive

Stephanie Larscheid, Livermore

Vickie Larson, Mount Pleasant

Nathan Katzer, Cumming

Joshua Merchant, Storm Lake

Chuck Morris, Clarinda

Seth Moulton, Ankeny

Wayne Pantini, Creston

Mark Reinig, Elkader

Terri Rosonke, Prairie City

Nick Sorensen, Jefferson

Sarah Thompson, Radcliffe

Bret Wedemeyer, Casey

Growing Rural Iowa Task Force – Ex-Officios

Sec. of Ag., Mike Naig

Sen. Annette Sweeney

Sen. Amanda Ragan

Rep. Bobby Kaufmann

Rep. Amy Nielsen

Growing Rural Iowa Task Force

Kathy Anderson, Johnston

Whitney Baethke, Montezuma

Stacy Besch, Algona

Jennifer Crall, Ankeny

Rob Denson, Ankeny

Effie Hill, Fort Dodge

James Hoelscher, Cedar Falls

Philip Jones, Waverly

Caleb Knutson, Hubbard

Christian Lutz, Independence

Ashley Moyer, Birmingham

Jason Neises, Dubuque

Ron Reischl, Manning

Emily Schmitt, Clear Lake

Gerry Schnepf, Johnston

Jenae Stokesbary, Pella

Sharon Stroh, Ottumwa

Mike Taylor, Adel

Jim Thompson, Ankeny

Justin Wagner, Harlan

Bethany Wilcoxon, Des Moines

Rick Young, Jewell

Connecting Rural Iowa Task Force – Ex-Officios

Sec. of Ag., Mike Naig

Sen. Jake Chapman

Sen. Kevin Kinney

Rep. Jane Bloomingdale

Rep. Phil Miller

Connecting Rural Iowa Task Force

Bill Anderson, Pierson

Barb Baker, Grinnell

Christopher Ball, Bloomfield

Ryan Boone, Sioux Center

Sandee Buysse, Riverside

Josh Byrnes, Osage

Kevin Cabbage, Stanton

Dave Duncan, Clive

Stacie Euken, Wiota

Dennis Fraise, Burlington

Caleb Housh, Seymour

Billi Hunt, Urbandale

Linc Kroeger, Des Moines

Katherine LaBree, Aplington

Danna Larson, Odebolt

Deb Lucht, Minburn

Patricia Manuel, Olin

Hollee McCormick, Harpers Ferry

Grant Menke, Ankeny

Tom Petersen, Cedar Rapids

Steve Simons, Larchwood

Stacey Stewart, Cedar Rapids