Keokuk, SEIA leaders attend summit in D.C.

June 20, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a collaborative regional effort between Southeast Iowa economic development organizations and chambers of commerce, community leaders from Lee, Des Moines and Henry counties were in Washington, D.C., from Tuesday through Thursday for the annual summit.

The delegation held individual meetings with U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley-R, Iowa, U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, to discuss transportation and infrastructure, immigration, regulatory reform, and the federal deficit.

Keokuk Mayor Tom Marion and City Administrator Aaron Burnett have some good news to report.

“The senators and representative listened intently to our concerns about the onerous sewer separation imposed upon Keokuk, and stated that an infrastructure bill might be coming through in this session that could provide funding to assist with these costs,” Burnett said. “I am hopeful that the sewer separation project in Keokuk will be able to receive relief through a potential modification of the consent order through the (Environmental Protection Agency) and/or increased funding from the federal government for mandated projects. Without some relief, sewer rates will have to continue to increase to cover the required sewer improvements.

“It was refreshing to hear the enthusiasm that both chambers and both political parties had for improving the condition of infrastructure in the United States.”

Greater Burlington Partnership President and CEO Jason Hutcheson echoed the comment.

“As expected, all were very gracious and listened intently to some of our concerns,” Hutcheson said. “Calling on our elected officials, looking them in the eye, and presenting reasonable evidence to support our positions has value.”