Iowa Democrat and gubernatorial candidate Fred Hubbell's four-day tour of eastern Iowa swung through Davenport on Friday as the Democrat continued to push for greater investment in education and job opportunities in the state.
Following a visit to the Steeple Square in Dubuque, Hubbell toured Eastern Iowa Community Colleges' urban campus as part of goal to to identify public-private partnerships that have succeeded.
"We're not funding education well," Hubbell said. "We've got a lot of open jobs. We're not raising incomes fast enough so we're trying to find situations where they're doing something good, like here, where they're bringing more education downtown for the people who live downtown."
The businessman has put an emphasis on "investing in people first" to strengthen the state and lauded both the city of Davenport and the college with pushing the development forward.
The urban campus, which is currently under construction, could be completed as early as Thanksgiving.
"We need new technologies to keep our businesses competitive so they stay in Iowa and hire more people," Hubbell said. "We need to get more young people to recognize not only are there good four-year schools or two years of community college and then onto a four-year, but there's also a lot of good job training that starts in high schools and community colleges that will lead to excellent, high quality good paying jobs."
In looking at downtown Davenport, Hubbell, who was the interim director of the Department of Economic Development in 2009, also put his support behind extending historic tax credits, which have been a huge aid in revitalizing the area.
Pushing for the continued use of tax credits was one of Davenport's top legislative priorities this year.
"I think they are an excellent way to help rebuild a lot of our communities across the state," Hubbell said. "We have a lot of towns along the river here and other parts (that are) 100-150 years old, and we need to restore our history, maintain that history and reinvest in these communities to give them another 150 years to grow."
Hubbell's four-day "economic opportunity" tour ends Saturday with stops in Oskaloosa, Baxter and Grinnell.