Reynolds unveils new state logo and slogan: ‘Iowa, Freedom to Flourish’
Logo will help attract businesses, expand the workforce, governor says
Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during a news conference about state government reorganizing and rebranding on July 18, 2023 at the State Capitol. (Photo by Kathie Obradovich/Iowa Capital Dispatch)
Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Tuesday that her planned realignment of state government, included in a bill passed in early April and which became effective July 1, is now operational.
A new marketing campaign, “Iowa, Freedom to Flourish,” will accompany the realignment and was announced in the Capitol rotunda on Tuesday. A blue logo features the tagline, which is intended to attract businesses, expand the workforce and grow the state’s population, according to the governor.
A design inside Iowa’s ‘O’ shows a landscape and a road to the horizon, representing “a journey to opportunity,” Reynolds said.
On Tuesday, state websites began displaying the new branding, which will also be featured on 68 welcome signs located on highways at entry points around the state’s border.
“State departments will be adopting this logo as their primary brand identity, one that unites us as one team and makes us more recognizable to Iowan’s that we serve and aspiring Iowans that we want to attract,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds said over the coming weeks and months existing budgets will be used to phase in the branding as inventories of existing materials are replenished.
Realignment reduces cabinet-level agencies from 37 to 16
In addition to a journey to opportunity, Reynolds said the logo signifies unity as a government, something the governmental departments and agencies started to feel during the realignment process.
The nearly 1,400 page bill laying out the alignment was passed by the Legislature in April. Reynolds said she is proud of state employees for how quickly the alignment process was executed, reaching functionality within three months.
“It’s difficult to grasp the size and scope of this undertaking, especially with such an aggressive timeline,” Reynolds said. “Most people would say it couldn’t be done. But our team was fully committed, and I am deeply grateful for their exceptional work that made it possible.”
Although there is more to be done to fully integrate the various departments, Reynolds described the alignment as operational.
“There’s always going to be fine tuning and things that we’re working on,” she said. “There’s other things that this alignment will drive, that’s part of it, just a natural next step … But for the most part, we have people where they need to be, they’re getting paid in the agency that they’re in, things are aligning.”
Reynolds said the creation of space for collaboration among some departments is “a little bit delayed, but we’re working on it.”
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The alignment reduced the number of state departments from 37 executive-level cabinet agencies to 16, and changes some of the powers of the governor and the attorney general.
The realignment shifted 2,600 employees to different departments and eliminated 500 vacant positions. The vacant positions had been empty “for a long time,” according to Reynolds.
Reynolds said a conservative estimate of the savings generated by the realignment is nearly $215 million over the next four years. The cost to plan and implement the realignment strategy with the assistance of the Virginia-based consulting firm Guidehouse was nearly $1 million. That savings estimate was drafted by Guidehouse and includes strategic personnel alignment, consolidating common technology and land sales as the three of the biggest cost-saving measures.
A Legislative Services Analysis report listed the total savings of the realignment to be just over $12.62 million per year.
Democrats have criticized the plan, saying it was developed without input from Iowans. House Democratic Leader Rep. Jennifer Konfrst D-Windsor Heights, released a statement on the reorganization Tuesday afternoon saying there are many questions yet to be answered.
“Last year, Gov. Reynolds gave $1 million to an out-of-state consultant to develop a plan to consolidate state government. It is clear she didn’t listen to any Iowans,” Konfrst said. “The progress report released today is disappointing, as it still leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Iowans deserve a government that works for them, and not just the special interests. If the governor truly wanted to give Iowans the ‘freedom to flourish’ she would not be banning health care decisions for women, banning books or banning curriculum.”
Rep. Amy Nielsen D-North Liberty, ranking Democrat on the State Government Committee, said the bill prioritizes special interests, and avoids input from Iowans, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reported in March.
“Far too many of the bills like this one have been authored by out-of-state consultants or special interest groups without real input from Iowans,” Nielsen said. “It’s a power grab and one of the reasons people are so frustrated with politics these days.”
At Tuesday’s news conference, Reynolds had the directors of the state departments on hand, and featured three of them to speak on how the realignment process has been going, and the benefits that they perceive. “The most compelling reasons why alignment is the right thing to do for Iowans are the early success stories that we are hearing across state government,” Reynolds said.
Beth Skinner, director of the Iowa Department of Corrections, said the realignment has allowed for increased collaboration.
“In just a few short weeks since the signing of the bill, we’ve already realized how impactful increased communication between the Department of Corrections and community-based corrections can be,” Skinner said.
Skinner said the realignment allows the department to pinpoint policies and standard practices to “ensure equal justice and equal access to services for those under community based supervision.”
Another director, Kelly Garcia from the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, said she discussed realignment with Reynolds in her job interview four years ago.
Garcia said her time overseeing both the Department of Public Health and the Department of Human Services allowed her to see spaces that were duplicative. Since they were combined to form the Department of Health and Human Services nearly a year ago, that overlap has lessened, according to Garcia.
“These teams have been doing overlapping work for decades,” Garcia said. “Disjointed from the way Iowans need us to provide their services. They’re together now, in one division, fully embedded with connections to Medicaid, to child welfare.”
The departmental realignment changes include:
- Iowa Department of Administrative Services has assumed operational management of the State Historical Society of Iowa programs, research centers and attractions, including the State Historical Museum and historic sites; and the State Library of Iowa.
- Iowa Department of Corrections now has oversight of Community Based Corrections.
- Iowa Department of Education now includes Iowa College Aid, the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, Iowa Board of Educational Examiners, the Iowa School for the Deaf and the Iowa Educational Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
- Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, which was created with the earlier alignment of the Departments of Human Services and Public Health, now also includes the Department of Aging, Department of Human Rights, Early Childhood Iowa, Iowa Commission on Volunteer Services, Child Advocacy Board, and consumable hemp registration.
- Iowa Department of Inspections, Appeals and Licensing now includes a number of licensing and regulatory functions from other state departments, including Division of Banking, Health and Human Services, Public Safety, and Workforce Development. The Division of Labor, Division of Workers’ Compensation, and Civil Rights Commission have also become a part of DIAL.
- Iowa Department of Insurance and Financial Services, a newly-formed department, includes the Iowa Insurance Division, Iowa Division of Banking, and Iowa Division of Credit Unions.
- Iowa Department of Public Safety now includes the Office of Drug Control Policy and Motor Vehicle Enforcement.
- Iowa Department of Revenue now includes the Iowa Lottery and Alcoholic Beverages Divisions.
- Iowa Department of Veteran Affairs will now include the Iowa Veterans Home as part of the continuum of services it manages for Iowa veterans.
- Iowa Economic Development Authority now includes the Iowa Arts Council, Produce Iowa, and the State Historic Preservation Office programs.
- Iowa Workforce Development now includes Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Adult Education and Literacy Programs.
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