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DMDC 2021 Advocacy to Focus on Future Growth + Expansion in DSM

2021 Federal Policy Agenda

July 1, 2021

On Tuesday, June 29, the Greater Des Moines Partnership released the 2021 Federal Policy Agenda and announced the featured priorities the organization will focus on advocating for during the 117th Congress. As the 2021 Government Policy Council (GPC) chair, I had the opportunity to lead the GPC in drafting the 2021 Federal Policy Agenda along with support from The Partnership’s Members and Investors. The full agenda contains the policies we will advocate on during the DMDC 2021 event scheduled for September 22-24. The following featured priorities announced include:

Des Moines International Airport Terminal Project

The Partnership supports the Des Moines International Airport’s Terminal Concept Plan to create an airport that keeps up with Iowa’s growing corporate aviation and commercial passenger demand. The Airport has a $644 million annual economic impact on the State of Iowa, making the terminal project important not only for the region but also for the state. The Partnership believes that as the current terminal facility comes to the end of its useful economic life that it is imperative to invest in a facility and space that accommodates DSM’s economic growth and allows the flexibility that the airport will need in the future.

Central Iowa Water Trails

The Partnership supports building a regionally connected system of natural resource areas and corridors to support the Central Iowa Water Trails Project. In the spring of 2018, business and community leaders from DSM unveiled an ambitious water trails plan to bring recreation to Downtown DSM’s rivers and create a network of 150 miles of water trails across the region. As one of many organizations working on the project, The Partnership views the primary pathway to success as a public-private investment. With just under $25 million in private dollars from individuals and businesses already committed, The Partnership supports allocating adequate and permanent funding sources to meet the infrastructure needs of the project. Funding options include partnering with federal agencies, nonprofits and other granting authorities to make the project a reality.

Infrastructure Investment

The Partnership supports a federal infrastructure package that supports a reliable and well-maintained infrastructure system for transportation, water, broadband and beyond. The Partnership policy agenda prioritizes surface transportation projects such as the Southeast Connector, which will take another step toward completion of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Parkway from Downtown DSM to U.S. 65, enhancing safety and opening up opportunities for economic development. A strategic priority of The Partnership, the Central Iowa Broadband Initiative aims to address a need consistently brought up by business, health care, education and beyond. Ensuring strong broadband infrastructure to support the upload-download speeds necessary for today’s economy is crucial.

Small Business Support

The Partnership supports a strong small business ecosystem, particularly as the globe continues to recover from the pandemic and the acute impact to the small business community. Small businesses employ 50% of all private sector employees and have generated 60-80% of net new jobs annually during the last decade. In addition to supporting policies to provide flexibility for small business, The Partnership supports continued funding for U.S. Small Business Administration programs, including the Office of Small Business Development Center network, Manufacturing Extension Program, Minority Business Development Agency, Small Business Investment Company Program and the State Small Business Credit Initiative.

Immigration Reform

The Partnership, along with more than 30 other business, education and community leaders across the state, continue to support the Iowa Compact on Immigration, which calls for bipartisan immigration policy reforms that ensure the federal system meets the needs of employers and the labor market and provides a permanent solution for undocumented Iowans who make significant contributions to the state’s economy. A long-time advocate for comprehensive immigration reform, The Partnership sees an increasing need for talent in Iowa and believes reforms would open up doors to the untapped talent of foreign-born entrepreneurs, skilled workers in industries such as agriculture, construction and health care, along with the international students who attend our higher education institutions with goals of staying in the U.S. One of The Partnership’s strategic initiatives, inclusion, means supporting policies that ensure Iowa is a welcoming state that continues to be open for business.

The Partnership’s Policy Team looks forward to working with Iowa’s federal delegation as we advocate for the full 2021 Federal Policy Agenda. We welcome you to join us for DMDC 2021, the 42nd annual event to Washington, D.C. from September 22-24. Registration is open and spots remain.

Watch the entire 2021 Federal Policy Agenda announcement below:


For the full 2021 Federal Policy Agenda, go to DSMpartnership.com/public-policy.

The Partnership's Public Policy team engages with local, state and federal officials to create public policy that generates economic growth, business prosperity and talent development in Greater Des Moines (DSM). The Partnership is a nonpartisan organization.

Matt Ahmann

Matt Ahmann is the 2021 Government Policy Council (GPC) Chair and Assistant Vice President of Government Relations at Principal Financial Group.