Governor Kim Reynolds is issuing an executive order to create what she’s calling the Governor’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. She said the panel will help to “chart a course” for Iowa’s economic comeback after months of setbacks due to COVID-19.
“This board will be our economic tip of the spear,” she said late this morning, “looking across the spectrum of Iowa businesses and industries and non-profit organizations to assess the economic impact of COVID-19 and those whose lives have been hit hard by this pandemic.”
The advisory board’s members include executives from John Deere, Vermeer, MidAmerican Energy, Hy-Vee and other businesses. It’s to be chaired by Ben McLean, the C-E-O of Des Moines-based Ruan Transportation.
“There are immense challenges that many Iowans are facing today,” McLean said. “…Even in the toughest times, we do not shy away from a challenge. Instead, we persevere. We innovate, we engineer, we implement systems that will enable us to emerge from difficult times stronger than we’ve ever been before and this time will be no different.”
Reynolds said Iowa is well into the recovery phase of the pandemic and the board’s work will form the basis of her 2021 legislative agenda.
“Iowa’s success has always been about turning obstacles into opportunities, from the Dust Bowl of the ’30s to the Farm Crisis of the ’80s to last year’s record flooding,” Reynolds said. “We overcome adversity together.”
In addition to 10 business executives, the head of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce will serve on the board. Reynolds said the latest data indicates 50,000 Iowans who lost their jobs this spring due to the pandemic are employed again.
(Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson also contributed to this story.)