A contingent from Jefferson and Greene County was invited to be in the gallery for Gov Kim Reynolds’ Condition of the State address Tuesday. The group were instrumental in bringing Pillar Technologies to Jefferson, and in sparking the idea that Jefferson be a model for renewing rural towns with high tech jobs.
Following is an excerpt of Reynolds’ address. To read the address in its entirety, click here.
“When it comes to building strong communities, the talent is there. The drive is there. And often, the programs are there, but the coordination isn’t.
“That’s why I’m announcing the establishment of a Center for Rural Revitalization within the Iowa Economic Development Authority. This center will focus on making rural Iowa an even greater priority and give our Main Streets a roadmap for success.
“In places like Jefferson, Iowans are already showing that, with ingenuity and drive, our small towns can be as vibrant as they’ve ever been.
“Since 2012, over 100 Greene County residents volunteered more than 29,000 hours to raise funds, write grants and work on committees.
“They’ve transformed downtown Jefferson, attracting 14 businesses and rehabbing dozens of buildings. And recently, voters overwhelmingly approved a bond referendum that will build a new high school that will house a career academy that will feed a new downtown business called the Forge.
“The Forge, which is owned by Pillar Technologies, will employ 30 technology consultants, many of them just out of high school. Pillar has successfully brought this same concept to Silicon Valley, Columbus, Ohio, Ann Arbor, Michigan, and recently Des Moines.
“And now it’s coming to downtown Jefferson.
“Why? Because even people in our nation’s largest cities can see what rural Iowa has to offer. People like Kevin Scott, the chief technology officer of Microsoft and a group of technology investors who paid a visit to Jefferson just last month.
“Not every Iowa town will be home to a new technology consulting firm. But we should help ignite every community with the passion of the people of Greene County, some of whom are with us here today. Thank you for being that spark. Please stand up and be recognized.”