CLEAR LAKE, Iowa - Two North Iowa representatives held a virtual forum for the public to update on key issues being addressed this session in Des Moines.
State Representative Shannon Latham and State Senator Amanda Ragan took part in a Zoom forum hosted by the Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce on Friday. One of the issues that was discussed was expanding and attracting workforce, with one of those goals is to expand high-speed broadband internet access, which is one of Governor Kim Reynolds' key priorities to accomplish this legislative session. Both Latham and Ragan feel it's critical to have to grow Iowa's workforce, especially in rural communities.
"No matter what your industry is, it's so important, especially for tele-health and tele-education," Latham said.
"I used to say education is a great equalizer, I think broadband is becoming one of those things as well. I think it's great to have that investment in the state," Ragan said.
Another key priority to attract workforce is childcare. This year, the House passed a package of childcare legislation; one of these bills, allowing in-home childcare providers to take on an additional person in their care, made it through the Senate and was signed by Governor Reynolds.
"I think it's going to be interesting to see what the Governor's childcare task force comes back with. I think we'll see some of that legislation that was introduced this year could really help with that. As a small business owner myself, and a working mom, I understand how important it is to have reliable, affordable and access to childcare," Latham said.
"Childcare is really important to help families that can make that transition back into the workforce." Ragan
Affordable housing, water quality, the status of tax increment financing, keeping the workforce safe and healthy as we work towards normalcy, and planning ahead for a future outbreak were also discussed.