WASHINGTON—A bipartisan group of the nation’s governors will gather in Washington, D.C., February 22-25, for the 2013 National Governors Association (NGA) Winter Meeting, which will include sessions with the President, members of his Cabinet, business leaders and other experts for discussions about issues affecting states.

“The NGA meeting is an opportunity to meet with our colleagues and discuss the many issues facing us as we govern states,” said NGA Chair Delaware Gov. Jack Markell. “Governors care less about where an idea or policy starts and more about how it benefits our citizens.”

“As governors, we face many similar challenges and can learn a great deal from each other’s experiences,” said NGA Vice Chair Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin. “The NGA Winter Meeting gives governors the chance to examine great ideas from around the country so we can push forward in areas like jobs, education and health care.”

Saturday’s opening session will focus on Gov. Markell’s Chair’s Initiative A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities. This initiative focuses on the employment challenges that affect individuals with intellectual and other disabilities and the roles both state governments and businesses can play in advancing employment opportunities for these individuals. The session will feature an address by Gregory D. Wasson, president and CEO of Walgreens, followed by a discussion among governors.

Later that day, the Economic Development and Commerce Committee will meet to discuss federal tax reform. Speakers at the session include Thomas G. Doe, founder and CEO of Municipal Market Advisors; Robert Leonard, partner at Akin Gump and former chief counsel and staff director at the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee; and Mark Vitner, managing director and senior economist at Wells Fargo.

Concurrently, the Health and Homeland Security Committee will meet to discuss cybersecurity as well as the nationwide public safety network. Guest for the session include Richard Clarke, president of Good Harbor Security Risk Management, LLC; Sam Ginn, chairman of the First Responder Network Authority; David Hannigan, chief information security officer at Zappos.com, Inc.; and Dan Lohrmann, chief security officer for the state of Michigan.

Sunday’s special session will begin with a panel of business leaders and experts with experience in the field of disability employment. Panelists and governors will discuss how states can support businesses in employing people with disabilities, moderated by Judy Woodruff of PBS Newshour. Participants includeNeill Christopher, vice president of manufacturing operations at Acadia Windows and Doors; Judith E. Heumann, special advisor on international disability rights at the U.S. Department of State; Joan McGovern, vice president of university collaborations community engagement at JPMorgan Chase and Carl E. Van Horn, Ph.D., director of the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.

The Education and Workforce Committee will meet Sunday afternoon to discuss supporting teachers and school leaders. Speakers for the session include Bryan C. Hassel, co-director of Public Impact and Frederick “Rick” M. Hess, author, scholar and educator at the American Enterprise Institute.

The Natural Resources Committee also will meet to discuss extreme weather events and working with the Army Corps of Engineers. They will be joined by U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and  Major General Michael J. Walsh, deputy commanding general for civil and emergency operations, at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Sunday evening, governors and their spouses will join the President and Mrs. Obama at the White House. The following day, governors will return for meetings with the President and Vice President.

Prior to the Monday meeting at the White House, governors will meet in a closing session to consider the NGA policy positions. They also will hear from Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of the The Dr. Oz Show. Throughout the meeting, there also will be “Governors-Only” sessions to provide governors the opportunity for dialogue among themselves.

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