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WATERLOO — Gov. Kim Reynolds gave the keynote address to the 2018 Iowa Downtown Conference at the Riverloop Amphitheatre in Waterloo on Wednesday.

Reynolds found Waterloo’s downtown revitalization and growth exciting, she said.

The partnership between state and local government can entice new businesses to come to Iowa and work with local entrepreneurs and startup companies, Reynolds said. “That’s how we’re going to grow our economy.”

Government sets up a fertile business environment, but it doesn’t create jobs, she said.

“It’s individuals and small communities,” Reynolds said. “There’s certainly a lot of that happening in this community in Waterloo. Its exciting to see that.”

She used the chance to tout the good things going on in Iowa.

“People recognize the positive things that are happening in our state. They appreciate the fact that they have more money in their paycheck,” she said. “I’m really proud of the direction we’re heading.”

In September Reynolds will announce the details about new health insurance options passed during the 2018 legislative session.

The Legislature approved a law allowing small employers to band together to offer health benefit packages for workers through “association health plans.” It allows insurance carriers to resume selling cheaper policies that don’t conform with the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, skirting rules requiring coverage for things like maternity care or pre-existing conditions.

“We need Washington, D.C., to fix Obamacare. It’s broken. It’s collapsing,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds also noted negotiations with the managed care companies running Iowa’s Medicaid program finished recently.

A new carrier is coming to Iowa, Reynolds said. Iowa Total Care, a subsidiary of Centene Corp., will become Iowa’s third Medicaid carrier. It is expected to begin administrating coverage in 2019.

Later Wednesday, Reynolds was to host a roundtable discussion with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in Boone.

“We’re excited to have him back in Iowa,” Reynolds said.

The discussion was expected to focus on the Trump administration’s trade dispute with China and resulting retaliatory tariffs that have hit Iowa farmers hard.

The administration Monday announced it will make about $4.7 billion in direct payments to farmers affected by the ongoing trade war — most of it to soybean producers. More subsidies will be paid later if exports continue to suffer.

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