some pretty exiting things in terms of telecommunications.

When I started this, it was sort of a shared vision with the legislative leaders and then those legislative leaders left the Legislature and the newly elected leaders did not necessarily share that vision. I went through a period of time when I had to defend it with my veto. But now we have a new generation of leaders that again share the vision. And as more and more schools are being connected up and more and more people are becoming aware of this, the support and enthusiasm for it is growing. I think we really have weathered the worst of the storms, but there are still things with the deregulation of telecommunications. There is a lot more competition and a lot more change that has taken place. But we think we can manage it and that Iowa is positioned well for the 21st century.

GT: Based on your experience in pushing technological development, do you have any advice for other governors?

Gov. Branstad: I think that first of all, you need to put together a strategy and then have the courage to stick with it. That's what we did. I saw that this state could not continue to be so heavily dependant upon agriculture. We needed to diversify. And I didn't just want to see growth in a few urban areas. I really wanted to see growth in all areas of the state and the fiber-optic network was the way to help achieve that. I saw the telecommunications investment and the technology as really being part of achieving this overall goal of growth in jobs and personal income and population in parts of my state. So you have to develop a strategy and then stick with it.

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[ March Table of Contents]

Blake Harris  |  Editor