Des Moines – Gov. Kim Reynolds announced members on the three Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative task forces on Thursday, Aug. 16.


Last month, the governor signed Executive Order No. 3, creating the initiative. She invited Iowans to apply for membership on the task forces: the Investing in Rural Iowa Task Force; the Growing Rural Iowa Task Force; and the Connecting Rural Iowa Task Force. Iowans had two weeks to apply, and in that time, the Governor’s Office received nearly 180 applications.


“As a product of rural Iowa, it’s a passion of mine to preserve and celebrate our state’s rich rural heritage,” Gov. Reynolds said. “I’m very proud of the task force members I’m appointing today. They are solutions-oriented, experienced and passionate about rural Iowa.”


Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg and Sandy Ehrig, chair of the Iowa Rural Development Council and leader of Iowa Farm Bureau’s Renew Rural Iowa program, will serve as co-chairs of the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative.


“With the governor’s appointments to the task forces today, our work can begin in earnest,” Lt. Gov. Gregg said. “The governor said she was looking for solutions-oriented Iowans. We found them, and now we’re going to get to work!”


The initiative will kick off in September with three Ideas Summits. Task force members will be asked to come with a developed proposal on how to address the topic.


There are also several ways the public can get involved. The Ideas Summits will be open to all Iowans and include time for public comment. Iowans who aren’t able to attend the Ideas Summits will be able to submit their ideas online at iowa.gov/rural. The website will also include more information on the task force members, meetings and news. Iowans can also engage with the initiative on social media (Facebook and Twitter).


Co-Chairs


Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg


Sandy Ehrig


Executive Council


Christopher Ball, Bloomfield


David Barker, Iowa City


Sue Cosner, West Des Moines


Dave Duncan, Clive


Steve Gilbert, Leon


Hollee McCormick, Harpers Ferry


Emily Schmitt, Clear Lake


Jenae Stokesbary, Pella


Jim Thompson, Ankeny


Investing in Rural Iowa Task Force - Ex-Officios


Sec. of Ag., Mike Naig


Sen. Mark Lofgren


Sen. Tod Bowman


Rep. David Kerr


Rep. Wes Breckenridge


Investing in Rural Iowa Task Force


David Barker, Iowa City


Joanie Bond, Earlham


Hunter Callanan, Clear Lake


Jude Conway, Adel


Sue Cosner, West Des Moines


Shannon Erb, Leon


Steve Gilbert, Leon


Lisa Houser, Monroe


Kiana Johnson, Primghar


Bob Josten, Clive


Stephanie Larscheid, Livermore


Vickie Larson, Mount Pleasant


Nathan Katzer, Cumming


Joshua Merchant, Storm Lake


Chuck Morris, Clarinda


Seth Moulton, Ankeny


Wayne Pantini, Creston


Mark Reinig, Elkader


Terri Rosonke, Prairie City


Nick Sorensen, Jefferson


Sarah Thompson, Radcliffe


Bret Wedemeyer, Casey


Growing Rural Iowa Task Force - Ex-Officios


Sec. of Ag., Mike Naig


Sen. Annette Sweeney


Sen. Amanda Ragan


Rep. Bobby Kaufmann


Rep. Amy Nielsen


Growing Rural Iowa Task Force


Kathy Anderson, Johnston


Whitney Baethke, Montezuma


Stacy Besch, Algona


Jennifer Crall, Ankeny


Rob Denson, Ankeny


Effie Hill, Fort Dodge


James Hoelscher, Cedar Falls


Philip Jones, Waverly


Caleb Knutson, Hubbard


Christian Lutz, Independence


Ashley Moyer, Birmingham


Jason Neises, Dubuque


Ron Reischl, Manning


Emily Schmitt, Clear Lake


Gerry Schnepf, Johnston


Jenae Stokesbary, Pella


Sharon Stroh, Ottumwa


Mike Taylor, Adel


Jim Thompson, Ankeny


Justin Wagner, Harlan


Bethany Wilcoxon, Des Moines


Rick Young, Jewell


Connecting Rural Iowa Task Force - Ex-Officios


Sec. of Ag., Mike Naig


Sen. Jake Chapman


Sen. Kevin Kinney


Rep. Jane Bloomingdale


Rep. Phil Miller


Connecting Rural Iowa Task Force


Bill Anderson, Pierson


Barb Baker, Grinnell


Christopher Ball, Bloomfield


Ryan Boone, Sioux Center


Sandee Buysse, Riverside


Josh Byrnes, Osage


Kevin Cabbage, Stanton


Dave Duncan, Clive


Stacie Euken, Wiota


Dennis Fraise, Burlington


Caleb Housh, Seymour


Billi Hunt, Urbandale


Linc Kroeger, Des Moines


Katherine LaBree, Aplington


Danna Larson, Odebolt


Deb Lucht, Minburn


Patricia Manuel, Olin


Hollee McCormick, Harpers Ferry


Grant Menke, Ankeny


Tom Petersen, Cedar Rapids


Steve Simons, Larchwood


Stacey Stewart, Cedar Rapids