This week’s newsletter  from Iowa House District 60 Representative Peter Cownie is addressed to Governor Culver and provides encouragement for the Iowa Governor to travel to Microsoft headquarters to press for the software giant to recommit to their plans for a data center in West Des Moines.
Dear Governor Culver,
One of the most important jobs a governor can perform is that of advocating for new businesses and jobs to come to his/her state. No one is as recognizable or deserves to be listened to more than a governor in this respect. Therefore, I respectfully encourage you to go directly to Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington and advocate for Microsoft to remain committed to building the data center in West Des Moines.Â The data center was scheduled to break ground in 2009. However, Microsoft recently informed West Des Moines officials that plans would be postponed indefinitely due to the difficult economic times. The data center represents $550 million in new development for West Des Moines and Iowa as well as the creation of 75 new jobs with salaries near $70,000.Â
Governor Culver, now is not the time to sit and wait for Microsoft to decide what they want to do. Iowa needs to be proactive in bringing business to our great state. Nobody has more credibility in selling Iowa than you. Microsoft is an example of new business that would bring millions of dollars to Iowa. Real leadership means taking chances even when failure is a possibility. Real leadership also means going to bat for the people who elected you. As a State Representative for West Des Moines, I feel strongly that you can make a real difference for the people of Iowa in this case. This COULD be a signature moment for Iowa and your tenure as governor. I hope you will decide to rise to the challenge. I would be happy to accompany you.
State Representative Peter Cownie
West Des Moines
This is the type of action that our state leaders need to take… acting intentionally to ensure that players like Microsoft don’t think we’re just fine like we are.Â This is the time to act as if the deal were new and we are in contention with other states or cities… if you think that Microsoft isn’t looking somewhere else right now, you don’t know much about the world.
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By the way, this reminds me of the fact that the General Assembly seems to be sitting on their collective hands waiting for the Stimulus package.Â Among other things, Iowa has around 50 projects that are specifically waiting for federal money to be commenced.Â I don’t know howÂ many of those projects need state legislative action to proceed, but it’s a little concerning that we’re getting in line for money in some cases for projects that have questionable value or relevance in our current economic times.Â After all the criticism of US Banks for how they manage their [stockholders’] money, it’s rather ironic that we won’t treat the excesses of government spending being brought about by this huge pile of pork manure with theÂ same level of contempt.
More on these projects later.