Annual Access Washington DC Trip Puts Carroll County Leaders Face-to-Face with Elected Representatives
Each June for the past six years the Carroll Area Development Corporation (CADC) has orchestrated a near week-long trip to the nation’s capital to put local leaders in touch with elected officials, known as “Access Washington.” This year, the Carroll County Access Washington event took place Monday, June 5, through Thursday, June 8.
“The Access Washington trip is our opportunity to bring real world Carroll County issues directly to the offices of our elected officials,” explains Shannon Landauer, CADC executive director. “Our staff works tirelessly to line-up an advocacy trip that puts our Carroll County delegates in front of the government officials and offices that could potentially have the greatest impact on our Carroll County residents.”
Annually, approximately 10 Carroll County representatives make the trip to bring local issues face-to-face with elected officials. This year those representatives included: Landauer, CADC executive director; Jim Auen, CADC board president and Auen Distributing; Doug Burns, Daily Times Herald; Rick Hunsaker, Region XII COG; Dr. Eric Jensen, Mayor, City of Carroll; Gene Meiners, Carroll County Supervisors; Ed Smith, St. Anthony Regional Hospital; Mike Pogge-Weaver, City of Carroll; Jason Owen, Accu-Steel Inc.; and Wiltsie Cretsinger, Iowa 4th District Director for Congressman King.
“This year the delegation brought several important issues to our representatives in Washington, including infrastructure concerns, economic development funding concerns, foreign trade policy and rural healthcare,” adds Landauer. Key stops included a meeting at the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO), where USDA funding was a hot topic along with Economic Development Association (EDA) programming. While at NADO, staffers also explained to the Carroll County delegation the process through which President Trumps proposed budget would go.
“Learning about the process the government goes through in approving and actually finalizing a budget was important for our group. You’ll often hear media speculation of potential budget or programming cuts, but to understand that the President first proposes the budget and then it goes through a congressional and administrative process before actually arriving at a final budget, was key to understanding what may or may not actually happen this coming budget year, ” explains Landauer. She adds that better understanding the budget process also gives the group hope that they’re conversations with legislators and staffers now may still have a positive impact in the future.
Another important topic for the group to carry to Washington was the importance of available healthcare services to rural Iowans. Logistically, access to healthcare can be challenging for various populations residing in rural Iowa and the Carroll County delegation emphasized the importance of funding for alternative solutions to congressional representatives and their staffers while in DC.
“I think one of the most positive things to come of our trip, and all of our Access Washington trips, are the relationships we’re able to cultivate with not only our elected representatives, but also their staff members, aides and colleagues. These relationships are just as important when navigating through politics and knowing who to call when an issue does arise,” adds Landauer.
Following the Access Washington event, delegation members return to the CADC with their comments, notes and take-aways, and utilize this information to help shape a better Carroll County.
“Now is when the real work begins. We went to Washington and shared our thoughts and concerns and returned with really good feedback. Now we’ll take that feedback to the CADC board for them to consider and act upon in ways that will better position Carroll County economically and as an area that takes care of its people and preserves their way of life,” notes Landauer.