This past weekend, I traveled to Iowa to meet with local leaders about the urgent need to pass President Obama’s American Jobs Act. Just as in the other states I visited across the country this past month, the folks in Iowa said loud and clear that they are ready to see the economy flourish again and believe this Act will get us back to work.
On Saturday, I held a White House Business Council meeting with local business, community and agricultural leaders to discuss the Act and what it will do to strengthen the economy in Riverdale and Cedar Rapids, IA. I talked about how—without adding a dime to the deficit—it will provide a tax cut for over 60,000 Iowa businesses, support the jobs of 4,100 teachers and first responders and immediately provide over 5,000 construction workers a job improving highways and other critical infrastructure. In addition, a typical household in Iowa will receive a tax cut of around $1,580.
On Monday, I held an event with Bill Gerhard, President of the Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council at Morningstar Bridge over I-80/I-35 in Des Moines to talk about the need to invest in our nation’s infrastructure. We were joined by 35 local labor leaders from the Iowa State Heavy Highway Subcommittee, including laborers, iron workers, teamsters, carpenters, cement masons and operating engineers.
The event coincided with the release of a report on the condition of Iowa’s bridges. The report highlights the critical need to repair bridges like the Morningstar Bridge – which has been judged ‘structurally deficient’—in order to ensure public safety. Infrastructure improvements like this would be possible through passage of the American Jobs Act.
I appreciated the opportunity to reconnect with my home state about not only what is troubling our country, but more importantly, ways in which we can work together to improve it. Like many Iowans I spoke with this past weekend, I believe the American Jobs Act is a very important and necessary step towards jumpstarting our economy so we can prosper as a country for years to come.
Tom Vilsack is the Secretary of Agriculture.