As I run for a seat on the Windsor Heights City Council I am impressed at the number of candidates who talk about economic development. "We need economic development" or "I will work for economic development". It all "sounds good" but what time and effort have they invested in learning more about economic development trends, business trends, education trends, technology trends?
This past week I spent two days at the 2017 TrustBelt Conference. National leaders in economic development, future studies, technology, government and education met to share, discuss and talk about ways in which we might remake our cities and towns. During that time I was able to listen to some of the best minds in the business and forge relationships with people who are on the front lines of economic development.
That is what you do if you are committed to more than simply "talking".
I went to learn and interact and then bring back solid ides that will help create a vibrant commercial and enterprise zone in Windsor Heights.
The images that are here include Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) who talked about reinvesting in Flint, Michigan and growing business in a blighted area. Rebecca Ryan an international leader in future studies who speaks to issues of small business development and what we should prepare ourselves for in the coming years. Mark Modzelewski who spoke to me about how to grow business in our cities and towns with the people who are already there...rather than chasing the next "new shinny object". I visited with Leila Aridi Afas the director of International Public Policy at Toyota, Peter Zelihan the author of The Accidental Superpower about energy and energy delivery and the future of technology. (He grew up in Marshalltown.) And there were many others.
This is what you do. You don't just "talk" about economic development you go out, learn, focus and bring back solid ideas that, while they may sound strange, are already working in communities all across the nation...and world.
So here if my challenge to you: The next time a candidate starts to talk about economic development ask him or her what they have done, in the past two weeks, or month or year to become knowledgeable about the issues that confront us. Go ahead...ask and then base your decision on the answer.
I just shared with you what I've been doing for two days this week.
Should you be motivated to help my campaign with a donation my mailing address is Michael Libbie, 2815 100th Street, Box 382, Urbandale, Iowa 50322.