Partnership Advocates for 2021 Featured Priorities in Washington, D.C.
I recently had the opportunity to represent the Greater Des Moines Partnership during a trip to Washington, D.C. to advocate for The Partnership’s 2021 Federal Policy Agenda. Joining me were Matt Ahmann, assistant vice president of government relations for Principal Financial Group and the chair of The Partnership’s 2021 Government Policy Council; Brian Mulcahy, director of finance for the Des Moines International Airport; Hannah Inman, CEO of the Great Outdoors Foundation; Maggie McClelland, director of ICON Water Trails; Jay Byers, president & CEO of The Partnership; Tiffany Tauscheck, chief operations officer of The Partnership and Ryan Moon, public policy manager of The Partnership. As the vice-chair of the Partnership’s Executive Committee and Board, it was my privilege to represent the organization.
During the trip we had the opportunity to meet face-to-face with all six members of Iowa’s congressional delegation and focus our conversations on The Partnership’s 2021 Federal Agenda’s Featured Priorities:
Des Moines International Airport Terminal
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 Greater Des Moines’ (DSM’s) economic growth and allows the flexibility that the airport will need in the future.
ICON Water Trails
The Partnership supports building a regionally connected system of natural resource areas and corridors to support the Iowa Confluence Water Trails (ICON). 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 $26 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.
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.
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.
While we all wish we were able to safely bring the large group of business, civic and community leaders that usually accompany us on this trip, we believe a small and targeted group helped advance policy priorities of The Partnership’s Members and Investors during an important time in Congress. We encourage you to mark your calendars for our return to Washington, D.C. as a large group for DMDC 2022, tentatively scheduled for May 11 – 13, 2022.
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.