Across Iowa, you'll see plenty of signs like the one above, noting that "The People of Iowa Welcome You" to enjoy our "Fields of Opportunities," the latter of which is commonly considered the official state slogan dating to back to 1999, when it was coined during the era of then-Governor Tom Vilsack, now the head of the United States Department of Agriculture for the second time.

But is that actually the current slogan? There was also a marketing campaign launched in 2019 called "This is Iowa." Staci Hupp Ballard, chief strategic communications officer for the state Economic Development Authority and the Iowa Finance Authority spoke in a story filed by the Sioux City Journal. She is among a group of officials who think after 20 years, the state needs to look at a fresh, consistent branding makeover. For what it's worth, The Journal noted that no one among those in attendance at a Senate Commerce subcommittee meeting had the same answer to what the official current state slogan was or should be.

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The Journal reported that senator Carrie Koelker of Dyersville led this committee in a Zoom meeting last week on the $350,000 Senate File 404. It would replace the state's 68 current highway welcome signs with "new, different and distinct message boards." Steve Gent of the Iowa Department of Transportation notes his department has had ongoing discussions about making similar changes but sidelined the possibility due to costs of about $275,000.

In fact, the latest discussion has also been temporarily shelved due to COVID-19 but Koelker and a handful of her colleagues who said they were on board, none of whom reportedly put forth any specific ideas for the new branding, hope to continue discussing the idea moving forward. They're especially interested in something that appeals to younger residents and prospective Iowans and we'll keep you posted.

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