Siouxland leaders build relationships in Washington, and with ea - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Siouxland leaders build relationships in Washington, and with each other


Siouxland leaders took an ambitious agenda with them to Washington this week.

Their annual lobbying trip, now in its 60th year, brought city and county officials from all three Siouxland states together with leaders in business and education.

In just two full days, they held 16 meetings, a panel discussion, and a briefing. They returned from the nation's capital Friday, feeling a little worn out, but accomplished.

"The most successful thing we did was form more partnerships within our own community. We're advocating for the same things. We go arm and arm up to the hill,” explained Barbara Sloniker, Siouxland Chamber of Commerce Vice President.

The time together allows Siouxland leaders to get to know each other as well.

"That ability to talk to leaders sort of out of town, sort of off the beaten path.  You get thrown together with people you might not have an audience right away.  How do I meet so and so?  Well, they're right there on this trip," she added.

The most high profile meeting was with House Speaker John Boehner.

"He was very engaging,” said Sloniker.

Beyond lobbying lawmakers, the trip also served to educate chamber members. An immigration reform panel represented five different points of view on the issue, while a national security briefing offered a cautionary tale to business owners.

"There was a company that had been hacked into. They had their designs, they built handmade wood furniture, small company about 100 employees somewhere in Pennsylvania, and someone hacked in and got that, and within six months was manufacturing the same thing and put them out of business," said Sloniker.

From the moment they stepped off the plane, Sioux City's delegation hit the ground running.

“The city goes out a day early so we had the chance to meet privately with our senators and representatives,” said Bob Padmore.

Sioux City leaders had a lot on their plate, and for new City Manager Bob Padmore, his first lobbying trip to Washington was a whirlwind.

“You get to Washington and you're racing from place to place, and you leave one meeting and you've got 15 minutes to get over to another meeting that lasts 15 minutes and then you race back to where you were before. But that's what we're there for. To cram as many meetings into the time we've got. So, from that perspective it was pretty productive,” said Padmore.

Padmore said they didn't come home with a check, but he's cautiously optimistic money will be coming from the federal government to build a bridge over these train tracks on 18th Street.

This year's delegation also included representatives from South Sioux City, Nebraska, Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, and North Sioux City, South Dakota, and Dakota City, Nebraska.

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