(KTIV) -- The Siouxland Chamber of Commerce held a zoom meeting Friday morning to discuss COVID-19 and priorities for the state of Iowa.
Among the issues discussed was everything from housing, to a stimulus bill, to quality of life initiatives, and industry 4.0.
Debi Durham, executive director of the Iowa Economic Development and Finance Authority was on the call. She said many people are concerned about vaccines and when the rollout will happen so they can open up the economy. Another concern: how Iowa will fare economically in 2021.
"I'm actually extremely optimistic," said Durham. "I think there is a lot of pent-up demand for spending, durable good kind of spending. I think we are seeing really strong indicators for manufacturing in the supply chain which means the OEMs are well, farming right now is doing well. So I think it does depend on how quickly we can get mass vaccinations done because we need to build that confidence and open up our economy."
Durham said right now the state's employment numbers are back to pre-pandemic levels. But, one major thing she said the state needs to work is broadband internet.
"Well certainly broadband touches every part of the economy right," said Durham. "Whether it's delivery of education, whether it's the delivery of health care, whether it is to run these industry floors. Because I would tell you manufacturing today is not your grandfather's manufacturing. It is tech floors that are manufacturing products and so they need to be able to move big data as well and we can do better and we need to do better."
Durham said that's why Gov. Kim Reynolds is investing money over the next three years into the infrastructure of broadband across the state. She said it's also important to bend the cost curve so people can afford it.