Ron Reischl, a Manning resident who currently serves on the IKM-Manning School Board and is the past board president of Main Street Manning, has been named to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ Growing Rural Iowa Task Force.
There, he’ll work with other representatives from around the state to determine ways to lift up rural Iowa.
“I’m excited that our governor and lieutenant governor are specifically addressing economic development in rural Iowa,” Reischl said.
The task force is part of Reynolds’ Empower Rural Iowa Initiative, created via an executive order last month. She invited Iowa residents to apply to participate in one of the initiative’s three task forces (Connecting Rural Iowa, Growing Rural Iowa and Investing in Rural Iowa) and received about 180 applications.
On the Growing Rural Iowa Task Force, Reischl will work with representatives from Johnston, Algona, Ankeny, Fort Dodge, Cedar Falls, Dubuque, Clear Lake, Pella, Des Moines and elsewhere.
The task force representatives were announced Thursday.
“As a product of rural Iowa, it’s a passion of mine to preserve and celebrate our state’s rich rural heritage,” Reynolds said in a news release. “I’m very proud of the task force members I’m appointing today. They are solutions oriented, experienced and passionate about rural Iowa.”
The overall initiative will be co-chaired by 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, according to the release.
“I strongly believe that community vitality starts and ends within the community — it is done by community members coming forward to improve quality of life and economic development,” Reischl said. “What I hope comes out of this is the state provides some tools and some framework that the community members can use. At the end of the day, the community has to be resolved to improve itself, but tools and framework at a state level would be most helpful.”
The task forces will begin holding “summits” in September, sitting down to develop proposals of how to boost rural Iowa. The summits are open to the public and will incorporate time for public comments, according to the release.
Reischl’s task force, Growing Rural Iowa, will meet at 1 p.m. Sept. 7 at Access Energy Cooperative in Mount Pleasant.
The other task forces will hold the following meetings: Connecting Rural Iowa will meet at 1 p.m. Sept. 6 at Boulders Inn & Suites in Holstein, and Investing in Rural Iowa will meet at 1 p.m. Sept. 14 at Bricker-Price Block in Earlham.
Those who can’t attend the meetings can submit ideas at www.iowa.gov/rural.
Reischl said he hopes that after his years in a city of 1,500 that regularly looks for new opportunities and initiatives, he’ll have ideas to bring to the table at the task force’s meetings, but he also hopes the initiative gives him ideas to bring back to western Iowa — for instance, incentives for budding entrepreneurs who are looking for a final push to open an ice cream shop or fabric store.
“I hope to bring a voice for western Iowa and specifically Carroll County to the initiative,” Reischl said. “And I also hope to bring additional ideas back to this area that Manning and Carroll County and western Iowa can use. I hope to provide some value to it with some of my own ideas, but my motivation is just as much to bring ideas and tools and framework back to our communities.”