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2013 NGA Winter Meeting

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Washington, District of Columbia (February 22-25)
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Plenary Session Transcripts

Governors Attending

Gov. Robert Bentley, AL
Gov. Sean Parnell, AK
Gov. Tagiola Tulafono, AS
Gov. Jan Brewer, AZ
Gov. Jerry Brown, CA
Gov. John Hickenlooper, CO
Gov. Dan Malloy, CT
Gov. Jack Markell, DE
Gov. Eddie Calvo, GU
Gov. Neil Abercrombie, HI
Gov. Butch Otter, ID
Gov. Pat Quinn, IL
Gov. Mike Pence, IN
Gov. Terry Branstad, IA
Gov. Sam Brownback, KS
Gov. Bobby Jindal, LA
Gov. Martin O'Malley, MD
Gov. Deval Patrick, MA
Gov. Rick Snyder, MI
Gov. Mark Dayton, MN
Gov. Phil Bryant, MS
Gov. Jay Nixon, MO
Gov. Brian Schweitzer, MT

Gov. Dave Heineman, NE
Gov. Brian Sandoval, NV
Gov. John Lynch, NH
Gov. Christopher Christie, NJ
Gov. Susana Martinez, NM
Gov. Pat McCrory, NC
Gov. Jack Dalrymple, ND
Gov. Mary Fallin, OK
Gov. John Kitzhaber, OR
Gov. Tom Corbett, PA
Gov. Alejandro Javier García Padilla, PR
Gov. Lincoln Chafee, RI
Gov. Dennis Dugaard, SD
Gov. Bill Haslam, TN
Gov. Gary Herbert, UT
Gov. Peter Shumlin, VT
Gov. Robert McDonnell, VA
Gov. John deJongh, Jr., VI
Gov. Jay Inslee, WA
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, WV
Gov. Scott Walker, WI
Gov. Matthew Mead, WY


Committee Guests (abbreviated committee name or other session in parentheses):

Richard Clarke, president, Good Harbor Security Risk Management, LLC (HHS)
Thomas G. Doe, founder and CEO, Municipal Market Advisors (EDC)
Sam Ginn, Chairman, First Responder Network Authority (HHS)
David Hannigan, chief information security officer,, Inc. (HHS)
Dr. Bryan C. Hassel, co-director, Public Impact (EdW)
Dr. Frederick “Rick” M. Hess, director of policy studies, American Enterprise Institute (EdW)
Robert Leonard, partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and former chief counsel and staff director, U.S. House Ways & Means Committee (EDC)
Dan Lohrmann, chief security officer, State of Michigan (HHS)
Secretary Tom Vilsack, U.S. Department of Agriculture (NR)
Mark Vitner, managing director and senior economist, Wells Fargo (EDC)
Major General Michael J. Walsh, deputy commanding general for civil and emergency operations, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (NR)

Opening Session Guest

Gregory D. Wasson, president and CEO, Walgreens

Special Session Guests

Neill Christopher, vice president of manufacturing operations, Acadia Windows & Doors
Judith E. Heumann, special advisor for international disability rights, U.S. Department of State
Joan M. McGovern, vice president, university collaborations community engagement, JPMorgan Chase
Carl E. Van Horn, Ph.D., professor of public policy and director, Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Judy Woodruff, co-anchor and senior correspondent, PBS Newshour

Closing Session Guest

Dr. Oz, M.D., Host, The Dr. Oz Show

Discussion Subjects

Economic Development and Commerce Committee (EDC) – States and Federal Tax Reform­–Looking Forward
Education and Workforce Committee (ECW) – A Governor’s Plan to Grow School Leaders and Teachers
Health and Homeland Security Committee (HHS) – Protecting Our Nation: States and Cybersecurity
Natural Resources Committee (NR) – Extreme Weather and the Corps of Engineers: Preparing State for the Future

2012-13 Delaware Gov. Jack Markell’s Chair’s Initiative: A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities

Opening, Special and Closing Session Subjects: A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities, Public –Private Partnership Awards; Leaders Speak: Models from the Private and Public Sectors, Consideration of NGA Policies, Where Personal Responsibility Meets Government Responsibility

Points of Interest

The Opening Session began with a welcome by NGA Chair Delaware Gov. Jack Markell who thanked NGA Vice Chair Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin for her service, introduced the new governors in attendance and noted special guests.

Gov. Markell explained why he chose his Chair’s Initiative, A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities, noting the roles both state government and businesses can play in advancing employment opportunities for people with disabilities to be gainfully employed in the labor market. He stated that individuals with disabilities have not seen an improvement in employment outcomes since 1990. He added that an estimated 55 million Americans--that is, 1 in 5--has a disability, making it the largest minority population in the country.

Gov. Markell introduced the CEO of Walgreens Greg Wasson for remarks on this topic. Wasson explained how and why Walgreens began employing people with disabilities, which began with the opening of a distribution center in South Carolina. Walgreens worked with the local agencies to train and attract people with disabilities for employment at the facility, ensuring appropriate training for managers so that people with and without disabilities felt they were part of an exclusive workplace for people, working side by side.  Wasson noted that this was about business, not charity, and that jobs and expectations were the same for people whether they had a disability or not.

To gauge the effects of the new distribution centers and job functions, Walgreens gathered 400,000 hours of data across. The results are as follows: 20 percent fewer accidents in the distribution centers, 70 percent fewer workers comp costs, lower absenteeism and twice the retention. What the data could not track was the positive impact on the overall workplace culture.  

Finally, Wasson explained how companies can work with states in this endeavor. By sharing experiences, developing active partnerships between state agencies and companies and being flexible to what works, states can open doors for people with disabilities.

After Wasson took questions, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence presented a Public Private Partnership Award to ARAMARK for its “Into Work” program, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker spoke about the 2013 Summer Meeting.

The Special Session at the 2013 Winter Meeting featured a discussion, moderated by Judy Woodruff, among governors about the importance of leadership and how states can support businesses in implementing programs to employ individuals with disabilities.

JPMorgan Chase Vice President Joan M. McGovern kicked off the session discussing her role managing an initiative within JPMorgan Chase that reflected on people with disabilities. Her comments stressed the importance of leadership, productivity, communications, technology, retention and growth.

Acadia Windows & Doors Vice President of Manufacturing Operations Neill Christopher followed by describing how employing people with disabilities first came to his company. He emphasized the importance of job coaches, transportation and buy-in from the people that are going to be working side by side.  

Having experience inside and outside government, U.S. Department of State Special Advisor for International Disability Rights Judith E. Heumann offered a different perspective. Heumann talked about how they have evolved the State Department’s internship program to include individuals with disabilities. She also emphasized the importance of remaining flexible should someone acquire a disability.

Professor Carl E. Van Horn focused his presentation with the five areas where governors have led— leadership, coordinating services, acting as model employers, providing incentives and special marketing of the various federal tax incentive programs.

Following the guests presentations, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard offered his powerful personal story of growing up in South Dakota, the son of two deaf parents. Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy then gave remarks about what his state is doing to help individuals with disabilities gain benefits. Next, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad highlighted an initiative to close the middle skills gap in the state by engaging public-private partnerships. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker spoke about his experiences working with people with disabilities. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon talked about a program in his state that helps individuals with disabilities gain a Medicaid waiver for work training, work hardening and other services. Finally, NGA Vice Chair Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin described what her state is doing get the unemployed, employed.

The Closing Session of the 2013 Winter Meeting began with each committee chair reporting on their committee’s policies. Gov. Markell then turned the session over to a fellow Delawarean, Dr. Oz who gave a presentation on how governor can help their citizens to a healthy life.

Dr. Oz presented three observations about how people live their lives. First, people do not change what they do based on what they know; they change what they do based on how they feel. Second, the message has to be delivered with caring energy, because it does matter to people how they hear the message. And third, we have to make it easy for people to do the right thing.

Dr. Oz went on to talk about how medical access, tobacco usage and obesity affect state budgets. He then pointed to some best practices in states and leading efforts by the federal government.

After Dr. Oz’s presentation, Gov. Markell adjourned the 2013 Winter Meeting.