Gov. Mike Beebe, AR
Gov. Bill Ritter, CO
Gov. Jack Markell, DE
Gov. Sonny Perdue, GA
Gov. Chet Culver, IA
Gov. Mark Parkinson, KS
Gov. John Baldacci, ME
Gov. Martin O'Malley, MD
Gov. Deval Patrick, MA
Gov. Haley Barbour, MS
Gov. Brian Schweitzer, MT
Gov. John Lynch, NH
Gov. Bill Richardson, NM
Gov. Edward Rendell, PA (via satellite)
Gov. Mike Rounds, SD
Gov. Phil Bredesen, TN
Gov. Jim Douglas, VT
Gov. Timothy Kaine, VA
Gov. Chris Gregoire, WA
Gov. Joe Manchin, WV
Gov. Dave Freudenthal, WY
Senior Vice President and Director of Research, Federal Reserve Bank of America (EDC)
Dr. Susan W. Besio
Director, Office of Vermont Health Access (HHS)
Dr. Tom Fenter
Corporate Medical Advisor, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi (HHS)
Principal, The Brattle Group (NR)
C. Jeffrey Grogan
Partner, Monitor Group (EDC)
Dr. Jon Kingsdale
Executive Director, Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector (HHS)
Director, Center on Medicaid and State Operations, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
John Norton Moore
Director, Center for Oceans Law and Policy, University of Virginia Law School (NR)
Hon. Jane Oates
Assistant Secretary, Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor (ECW)
Dr. Nan Poppe
Campus President, Portland Community College (ECW)
Partner, New Enterprise Associates (NR)
President and Co-CEO, Motorola, Inc.
Hon. Rosa L. DeLauro (CT)
U.S. House of Representatives
Daniel R. DiMicco
Chairman, President and CEO, Nucor
Jay S. Fishman
Chairman and CEO, Travelers
Hon. W. Craig Fugate
Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency
Karen Alderman Harbert
President and CEO, Institute for 21st Century Energy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Chairman, Clinton Foundation Climate Initiative and Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative
CPA, Director, Disaster Compliance Division, HORNE
Kathleen A. McGinty
Founding Partner, Peregrine Technology Partners LLC
Chairman, President and CEO, Norfolk Southern Corporation
Hon. Janet Napolitano
Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Dr. Zhang Dawei
Vice Governor, Henan Provincial Government, China
- Economic Development and Commerce Committee (EDC) – States and the Economy—Looking Forward
- Education, Early Childhood and Workforce Committee (ECW) – Accelerating Education and Training Opportunities for a New Economy
- Health and Human Services Committee (HHS) – What Governors Can Expect from Health Care Reform
- Natural Resources Committee (NR) – Barriers to American Energy Security and Independence
- 2008-09 Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell’s Chair’s Initiative: Strengthening our Infrastructure for a Sustainable Future
- Plenary Session Discussion Subjects – Infrastructure, Emergency Preparedness, Energy and the Economy
To coincide with NGA Chair Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell's yearlong initiative, Strengthening Our infrastructure for a Sustainable Future, the 2009 Annual Meeting began with an opening plenary session dedicated to infrastructure.
Vice Governor Zhang Dawei of Henan, China,—which with nearly 100 million residents is home to China's most populous province—joined governors to share his country's experience. China is tackling many of the same issues governors face with respect to meeting the needs of both urban and rural communities through new financing strategies while also considering environmental sustainability issues. Recently, China has been engaged in a massive infrastructure development effort because a robust economy depends on robust infrastructure. Working together with the central government, the provinces and cities in China are using infrastructure construction as a key project to drive their economic growth. In order to fully utilize the opportunity, Henan has passed various supportive policies focused on communications, energy, system housing, people's livelihood and environmental protection laws.
Vice Governor Zhang Dawei explained that economic development requires investment to promote industrialization, urbanization and agriculture modernization. Providing housing, education, medical care, electricity, running water, job opportunities and public transportation enhances investment in infrastructure and public service. To accomplish these goals, China has proposed a basic “thought for the future” concerning its infrastructure development: make civil aviation a priority; establish or rebuild 4000 kilometers of track for rail; focus on nuclear, optical wind and other forms of new and recyclable energy; improve public service facilities; build sewage and trash processing facilities; invest and improve drainage areas. While Henan Province has started investments in all these areas, it remains a developing province and plans to continually make huge investments rebuilding infrastructure and putting in place the road, bridge, rail, electric and telecommunication systems that will be necessary for success in a global economy.
Wick Moorman, president and CEO of Norfolk Southern Railroad, spoke about rail as a key ingredient for strengthening our infrastructure for a sustainable future and the importance of maintaining public-private partnerships. Moorman emphasized the importance of expanding partnerships across state lines to achieve major public benefits associated with transportation infrastructure improvement that no one can do in a reasonable or practical time frame. Moorman described new improvements to the heartland corridor that will save railcars 200 miles on the route. The Norfolk Southern rail route connects the Virginia ports and Hampton roads with the heartland of America from Columbus to Cleveland, Ohio, and on to Chicago. In addition, Moorman spoke of the proposed Crescent Corridor—a 2,500-mile route stretching from New Jersey, to New Orleans to Memphis, and that will ultimately reach to Texas—which would produce jobs, environmental and safety advantages and efficiency.
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro focused on the value of making investments in infrastructure during these difficult economic times. She described the importance of spending money on transportation projects to create thousands of jobs. Congresswoman DeLauro also talked about how investing in infrastructure leads to educational rewards, environmental benefits and chances for economic growth. She stressed the importance of supporting a National Infrastructure Development Bank Bill, which would establish a new independent entity that can objectively consider public works projects and provide financing for those of regional or national significance.
The plenary closed with the presentation of the NGA Distinguished Service Awards and NGA Corporate Fellows Tenure Awards, as well as recognition of outgoing Virginia Gov. Timothy Kaine.
At the second plenary session on Emergency Preparedness, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano focused her discussion on the PASS ID Act, information and intelligence sharing and the H1N1 virus. She highlighted NGA's involvement in shaping the PASS ID legislation, which would implement fixes to REAL ID giving states more flexibility and funding to meet the law's requirements for ensuring the security of drivers' licenses. PASS ID not only allows states to comply, but it also allows states to accomplish the end goal. Secretary Napolitano also discussed ways that information and intelligence sharing can add value to the Department of Homeland Security. She spoke about improving the way information gets shared to states by enabling states to not only get intelligence, but also allowing them to improve their own analytic capability and capacity. Secretary Napolitano cited as an example the fusion center concept, in which federal, state and local agencies are co-located, all sharing information on a real-time basis with all the many thousand law enforcement departments around the country.
Additionally, Secretary Napolitano encouraged states to think about what effects H1N1 may have on schools as students head back to school this fall. Because H1N1 hits school-age children, it is imperative to think about what will be done with schools should an outbreak occur and when schools may need to shut down. She asked that governors consider meeting with private sector leaders as well as education leaders to plan responses to an outbreak in their states. She urged everyone to act swiftly to develop response plans and protocols.
After Secretary Napolitano spoke, a panel of guests discussed emergency preparedness. The panel included Gregory Q. Brown, president and Co-CEO, Motorola, Inc.; Jay S. Fishman, chairman and CEO, Travelers; W. Craig Fugate, administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency; and Bryan McDonald, CPA, director, Disaster Compliance Division, HORNE.
Craig Fugate described what he sees as the mission of FEMA: working together as a team and as a nation to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from and mitigate against all hazards. He explained that the job of FEMA is to support governors through grant programs, building capabilities, administering programs and during disasters. Fugate went on to say the Stafford Act is not the only solution for large-scale disasters. He explained that it is important to think about what the end goal of disaster recovery should be and try not to be limited by federal programs that do not reach those goals.
Gregory Q. Brown spoke of the unique opportunity governors have been given through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to address the nation's infrastructure challenges, not only in terms of modernization and repairs, but also in the areas of emergency preparedness. He noted that Congress gave governors a portion of the state fiscal stabilization fund for public safety, broadband infrastructure, law enforcement, port and transit security and technology investments. Brown laid out the three key requirements for public safety enterprises: seamless connectivity, real-time information and getting the information into the right hands. He also gave a brief synopsis of lessons learned, including the importance of an all-hazards approach to emergency preparedness; the correlation between restoration and preparedness; the importance of network monitoring; the hardening of existing assets; the augmentation of primary networks with alternative technologies; and the non-negotiability of true interoperability.
Jay S. Fishman touched on the obligation to constructively participate in finding a solution to the difficult problem of availability and affordability of insurance in coastal areas. He explained the Travelers proposal, which includes five specific actions geared toward resolving specific issues that confront coastal communities. The program includes creating wind zones; regulating stability; rating transparency; creating appropriate rating levels; and dealing with the issue of Mother Nature.
Bryan McDonald described the devastation that occurred in Mississippi after the hurricane. He spoke of the meetings held with FEMA and the joint team effort between the local and federal governments. McDonald also praised Governor Barbour's leadership during rebuilding efforts.
The closing plenary session focused on how energy is a critical component to maintain our economic competitiveness and how to address the volatile challenges related to energy reliability, security and sustainability. Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the Institute for 21st Century Energy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, discussed the relationship between affordable, reliable energy and our nation's economy, economic recovery, and our national security. In particular, Harbert stressed that global demand for energy will increase 50 percent by 2030, with 70 percent of that demand coming from the developing world. In the United States alone, demand for energy is expected to rise 30 percent. She noted that to meet increasing demand while fostering energy independence and combating climate change, we must take make use of all energy sources at our disposal—from fossil fuels and natural gas to nuclear power and renewable—as well as invest in our nation's physical and intellectual infrastructure to promote innovation. Harbert added that the enormity of the transformation needed would also require the appropriate amount of policy and regulatory and capital incentives to make this type of change feasible. She also urged governors to consider the vital role the private sector plays in addressing our energy needs and driving economic recovery.
Kathleen McGinty, founding partner at Peregrine Technology Partners, LLC, spoke with governors about the need to devise a robust national energy agenda and stick to it in order to grow our nation's economy and ensure our security. She noted that with the upward price pressures on oil, coal and natural gas, we should avoid putting all of our energy eggs in any single basket. For example, the nation spends $700 billion a year to buy transportation fuels from overseas. Increased electricity demand, aging electricity infrastructure and an overtaxed grid contribute to economic losses resulting from poor power quality, blackouts, and the loss of productive activity in the economy. Thus, building out and diversifying our energy resources—using not just fossil fuels but renewable sources such as wind and solar power—will be a boon to our economy because it offers payouts in terms employment, energy affordability, and driving our economy forward.
Daniel DiMicco, chairman, president and CEO of Nucor, the largest manufacturer of steel in the United States as well as the largest recycler in North America, also talked with governors during the closing plenary session. He focused on the relationship between energy and job creation. In particular, he noted that the United States would need to create 13 to 14 million jobs over the next five years just to be able to replace those lost during the current recession and accommodate new entrants into the workplace. DiMicco pointed out that a broad based energy plan that uses all forms of energy will create jobs, afford us energy independence and reduce the national trade deficit. It can also help the U.S. rebuild its prominence in global manufacturing, whether it is through producing windmills or steel plants, car plants or next-generation battery plants.
Ira Magaziner, chairman of the Clinton Foundation Climate Initiative and Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative, discussed the Climate Initiative's energy related efforts worldwide to improve energy efficiency and reduce consumption. A key approach used by the organization to promote efficiency is retrofitting buildings. As Magaziner pointed out, retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency can net a 30 percent to 40 percent improvement in energy use in most established building stock in this country as well as long-term paybacks on that investment. Additionally, retrofitting buildings requires laborers and, hence, supports job creation. Another way to boost efficiency is by integrating waste management systems, which involves recycling biological waste and turning the compost into energy. To reduce energy use, the initiative is trying a number of approaches. For instance, it instituted a program to replace streetlights in Los Angeles with LAD streetlights to cut energy consumption. The initiative also has projects to promote clean fuel vehicles as well as clean coal technologies and technologies that capture and store carbon.
As the session concluded, Vermont Governor Jim Douglas announced his Chair's Initiative for 2009-2010, Rx for Health Reform: Affordable, Accessible, Accountable.
NGA Chair, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, who participated via video, said: "It's been an honor to serve as NGA Chair for the past year. I'm proud of what we've accomplished in moving the infrastructure agenda forward."
NGA Vice Chair, Vermont Governor Jim Douglas, said: "Governors recognize that a sound infrastructure is vital to our economic prosperity, our environmental sustainability and our modern say of life. States have a key role to play in reinventing the policies and programs necessary to address our nation's infrastructure challenges."
Vice Governor Zhang Dawei said: "I want to express my hopes for progress for both China and American, my hopes for a happy life of the Chinese and American people and good health and happiness to all of you here."
Selected Policy Positions Adopted:
(1) Encouraging strong partnership among all levels of government in addressing the nation's security challenges; (2) Supporting state efforts to achieve and maintain interoperable public safety communications; (3) Coordinating current national health reform discussion between federal and state governments and opposing unfunded mandate on states for Medicaid program; (4) Emphasizing the importance of alignment of federal education laws to facilitate the transition of IDEA students to adulthood; (5) Supporting national community service and volunteerism; (6) Calling for full federal funding for the first two years of a state's National Guard Youth Challenge Program; (7) Updating the current status of National Guard programs and activities; (8) Supporting responsible fatherhood programs with domestic violence prevention programs; (9) Supporting interagency and intergovernmental coordination for intelligence and information sharing; (10) Offering recommendations for Congress and the Administration as they reauthorize the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program in 2010; (11) Changing the federal match requirements for the state-side portion of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. (12) Increasing CAFE standards; (13) Expanding the nation's surface and groundwater data collection networks.