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Iowa business leaders join nonpartisan research organization expansion

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(The Center Square) – Some of Iowa’s top business leaders have joined the board of a nonpartisan research organization expanding into Iowa.

The Common Sense Institute, which has chapters in Colorado and Arizona, is a 501(c)(3) institution focusing on education about policies.

Housing, workforce issues, property and income tax reform, and child care are some of the issues CSI will study in Iowa, according to the organization.

“Iowa was chosen because it’s been a nation leader when it comes to policies that encourage jobs and economic growth,” a CSI spokesman told The Center Square.

The Iowa board of directors is chaired by Joe Murphy, president of the Iowa Business Council. Other board members are Gavin Blair, CEO of the Iowa Association of REALTORS; Heidi Leavengood, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Ruan Transportation Management Systems; Amber Mason Lusson, a criminal justice policy expert and community leader; Doug Neumann, executive director of the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance and John Sorenson, CEO of the Iowa Bankers Association.

The organization also announced an expansion into Oregon.

“We are proud to bring the quality, thorough and unbiased research of the Common Sense Institute to Iowa and Oregon,” said Kristin Strohm, president and CEO of the Common Sense Institute. “For nearly 15 years, CSI has demonstrated that facts and data can shape good public policy outcomes, help create jobs and grow our economy. Iowa and Oregon are very different states that both offer ample opportunities for our research teams to analyze issues, and better inform policymakers and the public.”

The organization was founded in Colorado in 2015. An Arizona chapter was formed in 2022.

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