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2014 Winter Meeting

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Washington, District of Columbia (February 21-24)
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Plenary Session Transcripts

Governors Attending

Gov. Robert Bentley, AL
Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga, AS
Gov. Jan Brewer, AZ
Gov. Mike Beebe, AR
Gov. John Hickenlooper, CO
Gov. Dan Malloy, CT
Gov. Jack Markell, DE
Gov. Neil Abercrombie, HI
Gov. Pat Quinn, IL
Gov. Mike Pence, IN
Gov. Terry Branstad, IA
Gov. Steven Beshear, KY
Gov. Bobby Jindal, LA
Gov. Paul LePage, ME
Gov. Martin O'Malley, MD
Gov. Deval Patrick, MA
Gov. Rick Snyder, MI
Gov. Phil Bryant, MS
Gov. Jay Nixon, MO
Gov. Steve Bullock, MT
Gov. Dave Heineman, NE

Gov. Brian Sandoval, NV
Gov. Maggie Hassan, NH
Gov. Chris Christie, NJ
Gov. Pat McCrory, NC
Gov. Jack Dalrymple, ND
Gov. Eloy Inos, NMI
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. Terry McAuliffe, VA
Gov. John deJongh, Jr., VI
Gov. Jay Inslee, WA
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, WV
Gov. Scott Walker, WI
Gov. Matthew Mead, WY


Opening Session Guest

  • Jeffrey R. Immelt, chairman and CEO, General Electric

Special Session Guest

  • Maria Bartiromo, anchor and global markets editor, Fox Business Network, Fox News Channel

Committee Guests

Economic Development and Commerce Committee – Revving Up: MAP-21 Reauthorization

  • Mary Peters, former secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation
  • Roy Kienitz, former under secretary of policy, U.S. Department of Transportation
  • Jim Tymon, director of program finance and management, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials

Education and Workforce Committee – Supporting Governors’ Innovation in Early Childhood Education

  • Arne Duncan, secretary, U.S. Department of Education
  • Lillian Lowery, superintendent of schools, Maryland
  • Jeana Ross, commissioner of the Department of Children’s Affairs, Alabama

Health and Homeland Security Committee – Battling an Epidemic: State Efforts to Combat Prescription Drug Abuse

  • Governors’ Roundtable

Homeland Security and Public Safety – The Future of the Guard and Disaster Response in the States

  • General Frank Grass, chief, National Guard Bureau
  • Richard Reed, senior vice president of disaster cycle services, America Red Cross
  • Suzy DeFrancis, chief public affairs officer, American Red Cross

Natural Resources Committee – Accelerating Economic Growth: The Energy Sector

  • Ernest Moniz, secretary, U.S. Department of Energy
  • Daniel C. Esty, commissioner, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

Kathleen Neset, president, Neset Consulting

Discussion Subjects

Opening Session – America Works: Education and training for Tomorrow’s Jobs

Special Session – Growth and Jobs in America

Economic Development and Commerce Committee – Revving Up: MAP-21 Reauthorization

Education and Workforce Committee – Supporting Governors’ Innovation in Early Childhood Education

Health and Homeland Security Committee – Battling an Epidemic: State Efforts to Combat Prescription Drug Abuse

Homeland Security and Public Safety – The Future of the Guard and Disaster Response in the States

Natural Resources Committee Accelerating Economic Growth: The Energy Sector

2013-14 Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin Chair’s Initiative – America Works: Education and Training for Tomorrow’s Jobs

Points of Interest

The Opening Session began with NGA Chair Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin calling the meeting to order. Gov. Fallin then thanked NGA Vice Chair Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper for his service, recognized White House guests and introduced international friends.

Gov. Fallin explained why she chose her chair’s initiative, America Works: Education and Training for Tomorrow’s Jobs, noting that growing the economy, creating jobs, creating opportunities for citizens and growing revenues are all important issues to governors. She also stated that the initiative focuses on making significant improvements to education systems and workforce training programs to better align those programs with the needs of businesses and labor markets. Gov. Fallin added that preparing America’s 21st century workforce to keep pace and be competitive is an issue that not only calls for national attention, but demands gubernatorial leadership. Finally, she presented governors with a report titled America Works: The Benefit of a More Educated Workforce to Individuals and the Economy, which provides examples of best practices and tangible resources to advance the goals of the initiative.

To elaborate on these issues, Gov. Fallin welcomed Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric. Immelt outlined ways to compete in a global economy, noting three areas of importance: competitiveness and growth, investing and industrial Internet. He reflected on the national job shortage, emphasizing the importance of infrastructure, small and medium enterprises, creating a multiplier, regulatory reform, accountability and training and education. Specifically, he addressed the importance of science, technology, engineering and math education (STEM) and getting veterans back to work.

After he spoke, Immelt fielded questions from governors. New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan presented NGA’s Public Private Partnership Award to the Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri) for its work aimed at improving STEM education. The partnership allowed students in every New Hampshire public and private school unprecedented access to Esri’s state-of-the-art GIS Geographic Information System tools for education and research. Finally, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam spoke about what to expect NGA’s upcoming 2014 Summer Meeting.

The Special Session at the 2014 Winter Meeting featured a discussion, moderated by Maria Bartiromo, among governors about jobs and growth in America. Governors talked about how to create jobs, create the best business climate and gain a highly skilled, educated workforce. The discussion also focused on employment trends and the ever-changing economic climate of the 21st century.  

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Kentucky Gov. Steven Beshear kicked off the discussion with an overview of what his state is doing in the automotive industry. Along those lines, Gov. Fallin stressed the difference between manufacturing jobs of today versus 50 years ago. And, the need to bring education and businesses leaders together to talk about the type of skills they need and the type of jobs businesses are creating.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett highlighted their state’s tax reform efforts, allowing businesses to reinvest and grow. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory discussed his greatest challenge which is dealing with job growth in both rural and urban areas.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad spoke the importance of agriculture as an export. South Dakota Gov. Dennis Dauggard and Wyoming Gov. Matthew Mead then turned the conversation toward the energy sector and discussed what a job producer it can be.

A significant portion of the discussion focused on the skills gap and states competing globally, which led the conversation toward the cost of health care. Gov. Branstad talked about implementing incentives around healthy living. Gov. Haslam and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley expressed interest in getting away from fee-for-service. Gov. Hassan talked about the importance of transparency. Gov. Herbert emphasized the importance of including states and governors in the discussion.

The session concluded with governors each offering one solution or change that they would like to see come from the White House and Congress. Among the responses were maintaining current National Guard funding levels and flexibility and certainty around federal programs.

At the conclusion of the meeting, governors delivered health care recommendations developed by the Health Care Sustainability Task Force (Task Force) to the President and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

The Task Force, co-chair by Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, M.D. and Gov. Haslam, focused on state innovations that require the redesign of health care delivery and payment systems with the objectives of improving quality and controlling costs.

The Task Force report identified areas where federal action is necessary to reduce barriers and further support state initiatives. Recommendations focused on streamlining and expediting Medicaid waivers and the state plan amendments review process; improving and coordinating quality of care for dual eligibles (individuals who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid); improving long-term services and supports; and increasing flexibility and investment from the federal government to facilitate payment and delivery reform through innovative performance partnerships.