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2015 NGA Winter Meeting

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Washington, District of Columbia (February 20-23)
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Plenary Session Transcripts

Governors Attending

Gov. Robert Bentley, AL
Gov. Bill Walker, AK
Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga, AS
Gov. Doug Ducey, AZ
Gov. Asa Hutchinson, AR
Gov. John Hickenlooper, CO    
Gov. Dan Malloy, CT 
Gov. Jack Markell, DE
Gov. Eddie Baza Calvo, GU
Gov. David Ige, HI
Gov. Mike Pence, IN  
Gov. Terry Branstad, IA
Gov. Steve Beshear, KY  
Gov. Bobby Jindal, LA
Gov. Larry Hogan, MD    
Gov. Charlie Baker, MA
Gov. Mark Dayton, MN   
Gov. Phil Bryant, MS 
Gov. Jay Nixon, MO  
Gov. Steve Bullock, MT

Gov. Brian Sandoval, NV
Gov. Maggie Hassan, NH
Gov. Chris Christie, NJ
Gov. Susana Martinez, NM
Gov. Pat McCrory, NC
Gov. Jack Dalrymple, ND
Gov. Mary Fallin, OK
Gov. Tom Wolf, PA
Gov. Alejandro Javier Garcia Padilla, PR
Gov. Dennis Daugaard, SD
Gov. Gina Raimondo, RI
Gov. Bill Haslam, TN
Gov. Gary Herbert, UT
Gov. Peter Shumlin, VT
Gov. Kenneth Mapp, VI
Gov. Terry McAuliffe, VA 
Gov. Jay Inslee, WA
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, WV
Gov. Scott Walker, WI
Gov. Matthew Mead, WY


Session Guests
Opening Session – Delivering Results

  • Danny Meyer, Chief Executive Officer, Union Square Hospitality Group

Special Session – Where is the Economy Headed?

  • Maria Bartiromo, Anchor and Global Markets Editor, Fox Business Network, Fox News Channel

Committee Guests

Economic Development and Commerce Committee – Made In America: State Opportunities from the Advanced Manufacturing Revolution

  • Mark Hatch, Chief Executive Officer, Techshop
  • Millie Marshall, President Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia, Inc. 

Education and Workforce Committee – Making the Grade: Federal Education Policy That Works for States and Students

  • Michael J. Petrilli, President, The Thomas B. Fordham Institute
  • Andrew J. Rotherham, Co-Founder and Partner, Bellwether Education Partners

Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee – States Leading on Cyber Security

  • Jeh Johnson, Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Lieutenant General Edward Cardon, Commander, U.S. Army Cyber Command
  • Jandria Alexander, Commissioner, Virginia Cyber Security Commission

Health and Human Services Committee – On the Road to Transformation: Statewide Efforts to Drive Better Value in Health Care

  • Governor Robert Bentley, Alabama
  • Chas Roades, Chief Research Officer, The Advisory Board Company

Natural Resources Committee – Energy & Water: Federal and State Collaboration to Address Challenges and Opportunities

  • Gina McCarthy, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Points of Interest

NGA Chair Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper called the meeting to order at the Opening Session. He explained the rules of submitting a new policy, welcomed new governors and introduced the international delegations.

Gov. Hickenlooper then briefly explained the Corporate Fellows Program and recognized Dow Chemical Company, General Electric Company and Prudential Financial for 25 years of service and AstraZeneca for 20 years of service.

Gov. Hickenlooper explained why he chose his chair’s initiative, Delivering Results, noting that making state government work in the most efficient, cost-effective way possible is an important issue to all governors. He also stated that his initiative seeks to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of state government through hiring and retaining talented individuals, adopting innovative performance improvement and management practices and engaging stakeholders and constituents to improve regulations and requirements.

Additionally, Gov. Hickenlooper gave specific examples of how various governors were running state government more effectively and efficiently. Finally, Gov. Hickenlooper spoke about a series of expert roundtables NGA held in the fall of 2014 to learn about current research and practices in the areas of management and hiring, governmental process improvement and appropriate regulation.

To elaborate on these issues, Gov. Hickenlooper invited Danny Meyer, CEO of the Union Square Hospitality Group, to speak. Meyer talked about his success as a restaurateur because of his focus on innovation, quality and customer service, as well as how those principles can be applied to effectively and efficiently run state government.

After he spoke, Meyer fielded questions from governors. Finally, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin gave a preview of what to expect at NGA’s 2015 Summer Meeting in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

The Special Session featured a discussion moderated by Maria Bartiromo, where governors talked about ways to facilitate economic growth and lower unemployment in their states.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy kicked off the discussion with an overview of how their states eliminated or modified business regulation reforms to make their states more business-friendly and lower unemployment rates. Along those lines, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe highlighted the importance of attracting foreign capital as a way to boost local economies and lower the unemployment rate.  

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and Alaska Gov. Bill Walker spoke about the role of the federal government in regulating their state’s economic policies.  

A significant portion of the discussion focused on aligning workforce development with education, preparing the workforce for new jobs and facilitating economic growth. In addition, the discussion focused on how the energy sectors in states can produce jobs.

Both Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and Gov. Hickenlooper spoke about expanding technology jobs for students in their states. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf talked about what his state has done to facilitate economic growth. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock spoke about the need for relationships among the public sector, private sector and educational system.

The conversation then turned to states’ energy sectors and how they can produce jobs. Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead spoke about the challenges his state faces in developing a clean energy strategy and great infrastructure.

Next, governors discussed how to facilitate confidence in citizens and prepare the workforce for jobs. Both Gov. Herbert and North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple brought up questions about how their states’ job markets accommodate their growing populations. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp expressed interest in integrating more technological job opportunities into his state’s economy.

The closing session of the 2015 NGA Winter Meeting began with Gov. Hickenlooper framing the session on association and committee policies. Gov. Tomblin, chair of the Economic Development and Commerce Committee, gave a brief summary of the committee meeting. He then recommended passage of the commerce, transportation and infrastructure and public finance policies. The policies were adopted.

Next, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, chair of the Education and Workforce Committee, made a motion to readopt the K-12 education reform, child nutrition and building a world-class workforce policies. The policies were adopted.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, chair of Health and Human Services Committee, spoke about the two policies up for renewal. Those included reaffirmation of the Temporary Assistance for Needy F policy to address the Children’s Health Insurance Program, health care innovation, high-impact drugs, Medicaid extenders and prescription drug abuse. The policies were adopted.

Gov. McAuliffe, vice chair of the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee, gave a brief summary of what was discussed in the meeting.  Gov. McAuliffe asked for approval of the homeland security and public safety, cybersecurity, armed forces and veterans affairs policies. The policies were adopted.

Finally, Gov. Mead, vice chair of the Natural Resources Committee, discussed his committee meeting and asked for passage of the environmental protection, domestic energy and natural resources policies. All policies were adopted.

Gov. Hickenlooper closed the meeting by thanking all attendees and staff for their work over the weekend and the course of the meeting. Governors then went to the White House for their annual meeting with the President.