Partnership releases federal policy agenda ahead of DMDC 2023
As it finalizes plans for its annual DMDC trip next month, the Greater Des Moines Partnership today released its federal policy agenda, which Andrea Woodard, senior vice president of government relations and public policy, said focuses on issues the Partnership feels it can move the needle on.
The federal policy agenda is the result of input received from a survey of Partnership members and investors, and input meetings hosted by the Partnership’s Government Policy Council. The process also involved conversations with government leaders and congressional staffers, Woodard said.
She said work on building the agenda began last fall, which allowed the Partnership to learn the outcome of the November 2022 election, and about the priorities for the new Congress. The Partnership’s full board approved the agenda at the end of March.
This year’s federal policy agenda includes:
- Des Moines International Airport Terminal Project
- ICON Water Trails
- Regional placemaking
- Child care
- Small Business Administration Reauthorization
- Immigration reform
- FAFSA Simplification Act
- Regional transportation projects
- Arts, culture and heritage grants
- Farm Bill Reauthorization
Woodard said the priorities on the list are not in any particular order of importance, but there are some that have deadlines, such as the airport project and when federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars need to be spent.
Each of the priorities can contribute to the region’s goal of attracting and retaining talent, she said.
“With the opportunity to move the needle on these, we can show how they would help us attract and retain a strong workforce here in the region,” Woodard said.
The Partnership’s policy agendas, both on the state and federal level, are designed to take a regional approach, she said.
The Partnership simplified its federal policy agenda this year as it worked to focus more on specific requests, Woodard said.
“In the past, some of our priorities have maybe been more broad in scope,” she said. “So this time we were really intentional about picking priorities that were actionable and more specific in the ask.”
So far there are more than 150 people signed up for the Partnership’s annual trip to Washington D.C., where it will advocate for issues listed on its federal policy agenda. About one-third of those will be joining the trip for the first time. There is still room for more people to sign up on the Partnership’s website.
Woodard said the trip, scheduled for May 10-12, is designed to advocate, educate and connect. She encourages participants, whether they are going for the first time or are veterans of the trip, to take full advantage of the opportunity.
“The goal of the trip is to advocate for this regional federal policy agenda that our members and investors have directed us to work on, but we also want to educate, whether that’s educating participants on the topics that we feel are important to the region, or educating our [congressional] delegation and those we connect with while in D.C. about what’s happening in Iowa so they understand these priorities.”
The trip also is an opportunity for participants to connect with one another, said Woodard, who recommended participants identify five to 10 people they would like to connect with while in D.C.
“You get out of the trip what you put into it,” she said. “We provide a lot of programming for not only listening to the information we’re presenting, whether it’s workshops or breakout sessions, or optional side trips. Plus there’s the opportunity to connect with people. Hopefully people are looking at the participant list in advance and identifying ways to make some of those connections when they’re out there.”
Woodard said participants should also identify actions and follow-up opportunities they can bring back with them “that will help you further what your goal is for the trip.“
Michael Crumb is a senior staff writer at Business Record. He covers economic development, transportation, energy & environment, culture, sales & marketing.