Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds hosted a Jasper County town hall meeting as part of their 99-county “Iowa Is Working” tour Wednesday at Newton Manufacturing.
The governor pulled double-duty, conducting additional business by signing Senate File 2341, the sales tax rebate bill for Iowa Speedway.
“It's great to be able to do this right here in Newton,” Branstad said. “I want to thank the legislators for having perfect timing with passing this bill, so we're able to sign this file here.”
Also on hand for the bill signing was Iowa Speedway President Jimmy Small and State Sens. Bill Dotzler and Dennis Black. Dotzler authored SF 2341.
“It's fantastic to have had this bill signed in Newton,” Small said. “We have had nothing short of a warm and inviting welcome from not just in Newton, but Iowa as well. NASCAR is excited to have this bill signed it will give us a chance to bring more to Newton and racing to plan for the next 10 to 13 years.”
After the bill-signing ceremony, Reynolds began the town hall meeting, noting the unemployment rate of Jasper County has declined from 9.5 percent to 6 percent was one of the many facts presented during the town hall meeting.
“We're doing great, but without a doubt we're not satisfied with the results,” Reynolds said. “The governor and myself are very competitive to show people can live out their dreams the 'Iowa Dream.'"
Branstad and Reynolds see their idea of the “Iowa Dream” for Iowans through the prism of their experiences.
“First of all you have the friendliest and nicest people you could ever meet here in Iowa,” Branstad said. “The vice-president of China Xi Jinping came here in 1985, it was his first trip to America from our sister state, Heibi. He was from what we called Communist China in those days and yet he was in my office, while I was governor at that time on April 29, 1985.”
Branstad continued on about Jinping's experience while traveling throughout the state.
“He was so impressed with the friendliness and hospitality. He went to birthday parties, picnics and went out on the Mississippi River,” Branstad said. “When I became governor again back in 2011, I went on a trade mission to China. I usually met with friends from Heibi, our sister state, but I got to meet with Jinping and he told me of how much he remembers of our trip to China.”
“When he thinks of America, he thinks of Iowa and the wonderful people he met while on his trip here,” Branstad continued. “It's not just our friendly nature, but we have a great work ethic. We're trying to revitalize our education system. I think we have a lot going for us.”
Reynolds shared her thoughts on the “Iowa Dream” to those in attendance at the town hall meeting.
“The unique thing is that we get to see this as we travel through all 99 counties to see these great people,” Reynolds said. “It's those people that are working hard to make their communities vibrant and successful whether its the farmers or a small business owner. They pull together and believe in what they're doing and they love Iowa.”
Reynolds believes that getting people to Iowa sets the “Iowa Dream” for those moving to Iowa.
“Once, they get here at times their hesitant about moving here, but after time they don't want to leave,” she said.