SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — The governors of the three states Siouxland is a part of were all in attendance Wednesday at the Tri-State Governors’ Conference, an event first held in 1988.
Held in Sioux City this year, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen, and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem were presented with insight on specific areas by Siouxland businesses and organizations. Those areas included regional economic success, quality of life, workforce – childcare – housing – mental health, wastewater, pilot shortage, and the 185th Air Refueling Wing.
A key takeaway for the governors was that while the tri-state area has experienced success, there’s still a lot to be done to keep attracting new people to the area.
“The fact of the matter is, governors across this country are doing everything that they can be competitive. And that’s the name of the game,” Reynolds said.
“We’re competitors, and we’re competitors for the citizens of each of our states,” Pillen said. “And when we compete hard, that helps us drive the message with all the policymakers and with the people of our state.”
And that’s what was fun about talking to this group was they recognize that our states are special,” Noem said. “And that’s why we want people across this country to know that this is the place that you can bring your families and embrace freedom and still be successful.”
The governors also spoke about how they are facing issues.
“We’re all addressing different workforce challenges. That was a main theme we heard today. And it was interesting how it was presented because they actually hear the Siouxland Chamber in the discussion today was breaking it down into specific areas mental health. How are we helping folks in that area, childcare, housing?” Noem said.
“Great opportunities where government has to step in. We have a teacher shortage looming. We have a nursing shortage looming. And as a veterinarian, we have food and animal food,” Pillen said. “Food security is really important and we have to have enough food animal veterinarians.”
Reynolds also addressed concerns with the wastewater infrastructure, as the Sioux City Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant faces strain from serving residential, business, and industrial areas in the metro. The governor is optimistic that the state and city will be able to find funding.
“We have to determine what is the actual amount. What is the need — so that we don’t, you know, so that we’re meeting the needs of businesses figuring out other ways to address the water quality issues or the water sewer issues, as well as the amount of money that they’ll borrow,” Reynolds said. “But we do believe that you know, the funding is there.”
The three governors also shared that they found today’s conference helpful and important as they work together.
This was the 18th conference. The event was held by the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce.