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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

Opportunity to Change

Late one night a man is driving down the road, speeding quite a bit. A cop notices how fast he is going and pulls him over. The cop says to the man, “Are you aware of how fast you were going?” The man replies, “Yes I am. I’m trying to escape a robbery I got involved in.” The cop gives him a skeptical look and says, “Were you the one being robbed?”

The man casually replies, “No, I committed the robbery.” The cop looks shocked that the man admitted this. “So you’re telling me you were speeding…AND committed a robbery?” “Yes,” the man calmly says. “I have the loot in the back.”

The cop begins to get angry. “Sir, I’m afraid you have to come with me.” The cop reaches in the window to subdue the man. “Don’t do that!” the man yells fearfully. “I’m scared you will find the gun in my glove compartment!” The cop pulls his hand out. “Wait here,” he says.

The cop calls for backup. Soon cops, cars, and helicopters are flooding the area. The man is cuffed quickly and taken towards a car. However, before he gets in, a cop walks up to him and says, while gesturing to the cop that pulled him over, “Sir, this officer informed us that you had committed a robbery, had stolen loot in the trunk of your car, and had a loaded gun in your glove compartment. However, we found none of these things in your car.”

The man replies, “Yeah, and I bet that liar said I was speeding too!”

I know the events of the past couple weeks in our country don’t relate directly to the economy but I couldn’t help wanting to discuss the obvious “elephant in the room”. Our country has been attacked and people are dead in San Bernardino. Have you stopped listening to all the political posturing and let that sink in — 14 people will not be with their families for the holidays. I think we all realize that our lives changed on 9/11 and San Bernardino is a harsh reminder of that.

As we process what has happened, and continue to manage the frustration, anger, and all the other emotions that we have all felt, we need to keep in mind that times of great change can be times of great self-discovery. It was John F. Kennedy, Jr. that said “When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters- one represents danger and the other represents opportunity.”

The older I get the more I realize that life is rarely perfect and it’s almost never easy. But in the end, it’s up to us—and no one else—to make changes. As Iowans we have the first in the nation opportunity to begin to turn this horrible tragedy into an opportunity to change the direction of our country.

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