Carroll County development group advocates in nation's capital
Third-annual Access Washington D.C. lobbying event brings key business and agricultural issues and initiatives to lawmakers
June 21, 2013
The six members of the Carroll Area Development Corporation’s Access Washington D.C. delegation are pictured on the U.S. House side of the nation’s capitol Tuesday afternoon. From left are: Aaron Juergens, ag businessman and Carroll Chamber of Commerce president, Carroll Mayor Adam Schweers, Carroll City Manager Gerald Clausen, CADC executive director Jim Gossett, CADC board member and Daily Times Herald co-owner Douglas Burns and Carroll County Supervisor Gene Meiners.
The Carroll County Access Washington Briefing Book
- Preserve and expand Medicare reimbursement demonstration project for St. Anthony Regional Hospital under Affordable Care Act.
- Advocacy for an innovative health-care/education initiative in City of Carroll.
- Create a regulatory climate to help small communities in rural Iowa find and keep volunteer medical technicians.
- Intra-city trails in Carroll County will benefit wellness.
- Economic Development Administration funding vital for Iowa.
- Clean-water regulations impact on communities.
- Discussion of world protein demand and promotion of free-trade agreements. Major advocacy for Carroll County pork industry.
- Protection of Medicaid for people with significant disabilities.
- Reduce regulatory delays for AirCover Integrated Solutions, an unmanned aerial vehicle company with a Carroll location.
- Maintain biodiesel blenders tax credit
- Four-laning of U.S Highway 30 from Carroll to Glidden.
- Promotion of Carroll as location for U.S. Senate and 4th District Congressional Office.
A six-member Carroll Area Development Corporation delegation this week lobbied Iowa's U.S. representatives and senators and top Obama administration rural development officials on a raft of issues and initiatives related to Carroll County during an Access Washington, D.C., event over three days in the nation's capital.
Access members, led by CADC executive director Jim Gossett, met with U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and U.S. Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa - as well as many members of their staffs, in a marathon day of work for the Carroll area that started at 7 a.m. and lasted until 11 p.m. Tuesday.
Among other things the Carroll group: advocated an innovative health-care/education initiative aimed at creating jobs and drawing more residents to Carroll; sought to preserve and expand a Medicare reimbursement demonstration project for St. Anthony Regional Hospital; promoted an expanded trails system for the county; discussed the impact of free-trade agreements on the local pork industry; and reviewed rural emergency service and water issues. The Access delegation also raised regulatory and legislative issues related to specific private businesses in Carroll County.
And as in all interaction with legislators at the federal and state level, the CADC promoted the full four-laning of U.S. Highway 30 across Iowa.
"This year's Access Washington trip was another great success," said Carroll Mayor Adam Schweers. "As mayor, I feel it is important for Carroll to lead western Iowa by communicating critical municipal, agricultural, business and health-care issues. Workforce, population and funding are crucial to sustaining Carroll and Carroll County. Legislators appreciate local examples and positive ideas about solutions."
Aaron Juergens, the Carroll Chamber of Commerce president and the Iowa director of operations for GSC Agribusiness, advocated free-trade agreements and discussed world protein demand.
"Livestock continues to drive the ag economy of Carroll County and Iowa," Juergens said in a Tuesday meeting with several congressional offices. "Carroll County ranks 16th in the United States for production, and expanding export markets are critical to growth."
The Carroll delegation spent part of Monday morning with Doug O'Brien, acting Under Secretary for Rural Development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In the session at the USDA complex, Daily Times Herald co-owner and CADC board member Douglas Burns made the case for an innovative health-care/education initiative involving two Carroll-area entities. The plan has not been made public at this point - beyond some internal sessions in Carroll and the discussions in Washington, D.C.
"It would be a significant boost to employment and health-care opportunities in west-central Iowa," Burns said.
Schweers and Burns discussed the health-care/education initiative in several individual meetings with Iowa's elected officials and a number of staff members during the three-day visit.
Carroll County Supervisor Gene Meiners discussed challenges faced by volunteer emergency personnel in rural areas.
"Volunteer EMS (emergency medical service) departments work tirelessly every day to find funding, equipment and personnel," Meiners said. "The spirit of the EMS volunteers in our state is unmatched. We need to move beyond the annual chili supper and bake sale for funding EMS departments."
Carroll City Manager Gerald Clausen informed elected officials of rural water issues in the Carroll area.
Private businesses footed the lion's share of the cost for the CADC delegation's activities. The 2013 trip is the third-consecutive annual Access event in Washington, D.C. Members of Access Washington also are active in furthering the Carroll-area agricultural agenda in the Iowa Legislature.
"Access Washington 2013 was well-planned and executed by the committee and our delegation," Gossett said. "It never ceases to amaze me the dedication of our Board
members in carrying out CADC's mission of expanding the area economy, and Access Washington is an important part of that. Congressional members and staff were attentive to our issues."
In conversations with lawmakers and their staffs Burns continued a push for the location of a congressional district or U.S. Senate office in Carroll.
"In reviewing the map of the 4th Congressional District in Iowa it becomes quickly apparent that the City of Carroll should be considered for a district office for our federal representative," Burns said. "The same holds true for statewide offices. Carroll is geographically positioned in the center of the Des Moines, Council Bluffs-Omaha and Sioux City triangle. In fact, U.S. Rep. Steve King has held a number of events at the Santa Maria Winery in Carroll, pulling people from all three population centers. What's more, Carroll is among the more aggressive cities in western Iowa in leading regional economic development. We are a growing commercial hub that draws labor from area counties."
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