As a country, Americans have overcome some of history’s greatest challenges. Before this country formally existed, the concept of America hung by a thread in a forest near Philadelphia in the winter of 1777-1778. Not too many years later, the British Army burned the US Capitol and the White House during the War of 1812. In the 1930s the Great Depression crippled the American economy for a decade. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941. In 2001 terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
As Iowans, we have faced many challenges in our 174 years as a state. Shortly after the state was admitted to the union, the country was plunged into civil war. During the 1980s we saw a hammering of the agricultural economy, which is so vital to our state. A dozen years ago the state entered the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
Now, Iowa and America are facing another huge challenge with the spread of the coronavirus and COVID-19. It has impacted the health of many Iowans, the delivery of health care, and the everyday routines of nearly every Iowan.
Throughout all those battles, wars, and difficulties the American people overcame those challenges in both our state and country and we will overcome this one. Prior to the emergence of the coronavirus and COVID-19, the US economy had lifted millions out of poverty, expanded the workforce, and raised wages for huge numbers of Americans. Iowa had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country and many employers were scrambling to find qualified employees to fill their job openings. Those days can return and I believe they will. The same dedication, hard work, and willingness to take risks that were evident in our Founders still exist in the hearts of Americans.
The virus will not last forever. Americans and Iowans will adapt to these times. We will find effective treatments or vaccines. When we emerge from this crisis we will have a better appreciation for many of the things we took for granted. Furthermore, the American desire to work, build, create, and grow will be released again to restore what has been lost and push forward to a stronger future. I have complete confidence in Iowans to care for each other now and in the comings weeks or months to rebuild our economy together.
As we continue to work through this pandemic, please know there are many resources available to you if you need them. The 24/7 hotline for all COVID-19 related questions can be reached at 2-1-1- or 1-800-244-7431. Additionally, a legal information hotline for COVID-19 related legal matters, like eviction, the denial of unemployment benefits, or employer-employee issues, is available at 1-800-332-0419.
The state’s COVID-19 website is an up to date resource that can be found here. It has information regarding cases, the disease itself, Governor’s Disaster Proclamations, FAQs, and much more.
Iowa Economic Development Authority and Iowa Workforce Development continue to update their website with information, especially with the recent passage of the CARES Act at the federal level. If you are looking for information or updates, I encourage you to visit their websites at www.iowabusinessrecovery.com and www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/covid-19. The Iowa Department of Education also released a number of resources for families to support learning at home during this period. Those can be found at https://educateiowa.gov/pk-12/resources-support-learning-during-covid-19.