Branstad taps Durham to lead Iowa Economic Development Dept. - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Branstad taps Durham to lead Iowa Economic Development Dept.

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URBANDALE, Iowa (KTIV) -- She's Debi Durham. And, bringing in business... is her business as president of the Siouxland Chamber. Tuesday in Urbandale, Iowa, Governor-elect Terry Branstad announced he will appoint Durham as the next head of Iowa's Department of Economic Development.

Reporters from across the state are interested in Durham's appointment. She'll lead the charge to fulfill Branstad's campaign pledge to create 200,000 jobs over the next four years.

Branstad says he needs a leader and...

"I found that leader in Debi Durham," says Governor Elect Terry Branstad.

Not a surprise if the name sounds familiar. Durham's got a legacy of civil service in Iowa. She's been President of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce for 15 years, served as an Iowa DOT commissioner, and is head of an economic development company in Siouxland.

"It is a very humbling opportunity and I am honored and I think I am up to the challenge," says Durham.

Durham's local success in Sioux City was her biggest selling point. Branstad says after searching not just the state, but the country, Durham was his "number-one" pick.

"I think the fact that Debi has done so well in Sioux City competing with South Dakota, which is a very competitive state and low tax state... I think is indicative of her ability to accomplish great things," says Branstad.

But, before she can start at the state level, locally, Durham will leave her job as head of the Siouxland Chamber.

She wasn't specific about when that might be, but the chamber says she'll juggle both positions until mid-January.

"Right now we're going to do both, there are some things that I would like to finish up in our community and help them with the transition that is going to be taking place there," says Durham.

Durham is not planning on leaving Sioux City behind. She'll work out of Des Moines during the week, and make the commute to back to her family's home in Sioux City on the weekends. It'll be tough, Durham says, but says she's ready for the job.

"You know I certainly couldn't make this work if I didn't have the commitment of my family. It was a family decision and we are going to make this work," says Durham.

In 2007 Durham was named by the Iowa Association of Business and Industry as one of the "Five Iowa Women You Should Know."

Online Reporter: Forrest Saunders

 

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