The Value of a Diverse SWCD Board of Commissioners
The SWCD Boards of Commissioners serve as the local voice of the county they represent. The local voice should represent its constituents and the diversity of the local area.
Iowa is not considered a very diverse state, ethnically, although that is continuously and rapidly changing. Diversity represents more than race or ethnicity. Diversity includes background, viewpoints, experiences, connections, and gender. Each county in Iowa does have residents with diversity in each of the aforementioned categories. There are diverse urban, rural and agricultural interests; a variety of sustainability concerns that include agriculture, environment, and community focus; diverse socio-economic structures; and some ethnic diversity in each county.
Without diversity on Boards, there will be local issues that go unnoticed and unaddressed. If SWCD Boards of Commissioners include the same individuals or types of individuals for years, only the same concerns will be discussed and acted upon, while other problems in the community grow; and the broad interests of the county will not be served.
The diversity of each county should have representation on the SWCD Boards of Commissioners in order for this local voice to fulfill its mission. A diverse Board is effective and efficient in acknowledging and communicating the natural resource concerns and priorities of the county because those sitting around the table are aware of and experienced in the local issues. A diverse Board is more likely to yield sufficient solutions to the identified local priorities and to have a wider spectrum of connections that will be able to assist with solutions, financially and technically.
As Boards of Commissioners grow in diversity, future open Board positions will be more attractive to a larger pool of potential candidates. This accomplishes better service to the natural resources and communities within each county.