WASHINGTON--The nation's governors will gathere at the JW Marriott Hotel on Saturday, Feb. 21 for four days of meetings with the President, Cabinet, Members of Congress, business leaders, and other experts for bipartisan discussions of common challenges facing states. Among the major topics to be addressed at plenary sessions were long-term care and aging; technology, productivity, and U.S. manufacturing capacity; and critical issues in the second session of the 108th Congress. Governors will also explore education, health and human services, natural resources, and economic development and commerce issues and policies during committee sessions.
Sunday's opening plenary is highlighted by NGA Chairman Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne's initiative, A Lifetime of Health and Dignity: Confronting Long-Term Care Challenges in America. The session - moderated by Jackie Judd, formerly of ABC News and now a senior fellow with the Kaiser Family Foundation - explored how chronic disease affects long-term health outcomes and costs; demand for and financing of home and community-based services; and technological development designed to assist patients and caregivers. A distinguished panel, including Dr. Kenneth Cooper, chairman and CEO of Cooper Aerobics Center; William Novelli, CEO of AARP; and Dr. Joseph Coughlin, director of the MIT AgeLab, outlined the issues and participated in a discussion with governors.
The governors will travel to the White House on Monday to meet with President Bush and members of his Cabinet. Among the topics for discussion are welfare reform, homeland security, and transportation reauthorization.
On Monday afternoon, the governors will turn their attention to the economy. The plenary will include a keynote address and panel discussion of trends in the United States and global economies and their impact on America's competitive advantage. Moderated by CNN's Lou Dobbs, session participants will explain the relationship between technology and productivity as well as outline how the global economy is changing. David Hale, formerly the chief economist of Kemper International, will keynote the session. Panelists will include Richard Dauch, Chairman of the National Association of Manufacturers and Jeffrey Bleustein, Chairman and CEO of Harley-Davidson, Inc.
At the closing plenary on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will join the governors for a dialogue of state-federal legislative priorities. Topics of discussion are expected to include highway reauthorization, welfare reform, Internet taxes, homeland security, and education.