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Gov. Reynolds defends the number of donors on advisory board

Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 5:12 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Gov. Kim Reynolds strongly defended the number of donors on her newly created COVID-19 economic recovery board.

An I9 investigation found a majority of the 13-member board has donated large amounts of money to Reynolds’ campaign within the last five years, according to data from the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board. The average donation from those board members was more than $10,000.

Reynolds said the members of the board were chosen because of their position in different companies who are adjusting, innovating, and adapting to COVID-19.

“You know, I can’t believe the capacity to turn a good thing into maybe some negative,” Reynolds said. “These are individuals who are leading great companies throughout the state of Iowa who are hiring thousands of employees.”

Reynolds said, when the advisory board was announced, the new board will help set the foundation for her legislative agenda in 2021 and serve as the “tip of the spear” to assess the economic effects of COVID-19 and to identify potential recovery and growth opportunities for the state.

The board will give recommendations to improve and modernize Iowa’s agriculture, education, and healthcare.

Reynolds said the board includes ways for the public to get involved and participate. She also said more people will be added through working groups.

Here’s the full exchange:

Ethan Stein: Governor, we reported last week that a majority of members on the economic recovery advisory board donated over $5,000 to your campaign. How are they expected or how are you confident that they will help out Iowans who are not going through good times?

Gov. Kim Reynolds: “You know, I can’t believe the capacity to turn a good thing into maybe some negative. These are individuals who are leading great companies throughout the state of Iowa who are hiring thousands of employees. Who have had to adjust and innovate and adapt and be really creative and how they could continue operating through the Covid-19. And that is the type of innovation and creativity and adaptive mindset that I want to bring together with the economic recovery task force so we can reimagine and rethink how we not only provide workforce opportunities for Iowa, but to take a look at education, to make sure we’re prepared to do exactly what they did in a short time frame. To make sure we’re providing an excellent education for our kids. To make sure we’re taking advantage of what we learned from Covid-19 with healthcare and healthcare systems. And how we can continue to build in the unprecedented collaboration that I’ve witnessed for the last few months. How we can look at Agriculture, how we can look at all the different facets and bring that same expertise to the table and then start to rethink and reimagine how we build on where we’re at right now. How we go above and beyond where we are at our economic recovery before 2019. We were in a good place and I believe with our individuals around the table we can take that great economy and surpass where we were at and provide Iowans more opportunities.

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