WASHINGTON—Governors from across the country gather this weekend in Washington, D.C., for the 2012 National Governors Association (NGA) Winter Meeting. Governors will also meet with President Obama, members of his Administration, business leaders and other experts for discussions about a variety of issues and challenges affecting states.

Led by NGA Chair Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman and NGA Vice Chair Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, business sessions at the three-day event will include an opening session and meetings of the five NGA committees. The NGA Winter Meeting will run through February 27.

The official business portion of the meeting will begin this morning with an opening session that will focus on Gov. Heineman’s Chair’s Initiative, Growing State Economies. The goal of the initiative is to provide governors and state policymakers with better options to assess the economic environment in their state and to create strategies designed to foster growth. Jim Clifton, chairman and chief executive officer of Gallup, will address the governors and then join in a discussion.

“These meeting offer us an opportunity to meet face-to-face to find real solutions to real challenges,” said Gov. Heineman. “The most important priority for us as governors is job creation. Economic growth is key to our future.”

The Economic Development and Commerce Committee will meet this afternoon to discuss strategies that advance job creation and economic growth.

On Sunday, the Education, Early Childhood and Workforce Committee members will examine governors’ efforts to end childhood hunger. Concurrently, the Health and Human Services Committee session will focus on innovative strategies to improve the nation’s road to wellness, enhance the delivery and efficiency of health care services and increase the long-term sustainability of the nation’s health care system. In the afternoon, the Natural Resources Committee will discuss the world’s energy future while the Homeland Security and Public Safety session will explore the changing role of the National Guard.

“I’m excited to be here at the NGA Winter Meeting with fellow governors to discuss the issues and challenges facing our states and the solutions to address them,” said Gov. Markell. “We have a full agenda over the next three days, and I’m eager to get to work.” 

Sunday night, governors and their spouses will join the President and Mrs. Obama at the White House. Throughout the meeting, there will be “Governors-Only” sessions to provide governors the opportunity for dialogue on a variety of issues facing states, including a White House meeting with the President, Vice President, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden on Monday. Prior to the Monday morning meeting at the White House governors will discuss NGA policy positions during a closing session.  

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Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association (NGA) is the collective voice of the nation’s governors and one of Washington, D.C.’s, most respected public policy organizations. Its members are the governors of the 50 states, three territories and two commonwealths. NGA provides governors and their senior staff members with services that range from representing states on Capitol Hill and before the Administration on key federal issues to developing and implementing innovative solutions to public policy challenges through the NGA Center for Best Practices. For more information, visit www.nga.org