The Siouxland Chamber of Commerce hosted the 17th Tri-State Governors’ Conference at the South Sioux City Marriott Riverfront in South Sioux City, Nebraska, on July 12, 2021. This event, which began in 1988, brings together the Governors of Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota to discuss regional issues affecting all three states. The location of the event rotates among the three states.
At the first Conference, the Governors executed the Economic Development Cooperation Agreement of 1988. Through this agreement, the three states committed to a recognition of the area as a single economic entity, that its prosperity is a goal common to each state as well as residents, and that local and state/local partnerships must be fostered in support of the common goal. The goal of establishing a positive, cooperative spirit where geographic boundaries give way to a like-minded desire to maximize the quality of life for all Siouxland residents still exists today.
There have been various regional issues discussed at the conferences during the past 30 years, including housing, workforce, Missouri River Management, transportation infrastructure, education, public safety, Tri-State Drug Task Force, placemaking, broadband, college and career readiness, and regional economic development. While our region has enjoyed great success the last decade, and all three states have received high national rankings in many categories, there is still more to do. With unemployment remaining at unprecedented lows, the workforce will once again be the top issue.
This year we welcomed Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts as the host, participating in his 4th conference. We also welcomed Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds to her 3rd conference and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem to her 2nd conference. Attendees had the unique opportunity to learn about each Governor’s experience of leading their respective states through a global pandemic.
Though Siouxland is a much different region than that existing in 1988, the need for interstate cooperation remains critical to realizing our community’s full potential. Tri-state cooperation has served us well in our response to economic challenges locally and globally the past decade, including the threat posed by the historic Missouri River flooding during the summer of 2011 and the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year. It will most certainly guide our recovery for the common benefit of all the residents of Siouxland. Together, We Are Stronger.
By Barbara Sloniker, Executive Vice President, Siouxland Chamber of Commerce