At the 2017 National Governors Association (NGA) Winter Meeting, led by Chair Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Vice Chair Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, more than 46 governors gathered to discuss critical issues, including:
- Early childhood education and how starting early is key for economic success. At the opening session on Saturday, governors heard from actress and early education advocate Jennifer Garner, Save the Children Action Network President Mark Shriver and Huntington Ingalls Industries President and CEO Mike Petters. The panel, moderated by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (chair of the Education and Workforce Committee) and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (vice chair of the Education and Workforce Committee), discussed the importance of securing children's future and how to champion, improve and expand access to early education programs in states.
- Confronting cyber challenges. At the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee session, governors discussed cybersecurity and heard about Gov. McAuliffe's initiative, Meet the Threat. The primary goal of the initiative is for states to develop strategies for strengthening cybersecurity practices as they relate to state IT networks, health care, education, safety, energy, transportation, critical infrastructure, economic development and workforce. The panel, led by Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee Chair Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Vice Chair Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, heard from Adam Clayton Powell III from the University of Southern California Annenberg Center, Deloitte & Touche's Managing Director Mary Galligan, Morrison Foerster's John P. Carlin and Google Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist Vint Cerf.
- Ending childhood hunger and improving lives by investing in America's future. In a joint plenary session with governors' spouses. Virginia First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe and Gov. Sandoval moderated a discussion about childhood hunger, nutrition and state-led solutions and best practices governors can adopt to reduce food insecurity. "One in five children in the United States struggles with hunger," said Mrs. McAuliffe. "Food insecurity has major implications for the country's economic future. Through federal and state initiatives and innovative tools such as public-private partnerships, we can improve the long-term health and educational outcomes for America's youth as I have worked to do in Virginia." Chef Hugh Acheson, food and nutrition services director for Fairfax County (Virginia) Public Schools Rodney K. Taylor and Casey Family Services Executive Vice President David Sanders joined the panel.
- Hot topics of critical importance to the nation. The plenary session moderated by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, included the topics of civic engagement, the national infrastructure bank, states' successes and rights, and artificial intelligence and the labor market. "These are pressing issues that in 2017 we, as governors, and as citizens of this nation, need to pay attention to," said Gov. Ducey. The panel consisted of Joe Foss Institute's Karen Summers, Intermedia Partner's Leo Hindery, U.S. News and World Report Editor and Chief Content Officer Brian Kelly and Jason Furman with the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
- Infrastructure spurring innovation. In the closing session of the Winter Meeting, governors were joined by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao. Economic Development and Commerce Committee Chair Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Vice Chair Gov. Ducey led a discussion on how new ideas and products can lead to the improvement of our nation's infrastructure. ITS America President and CEO Regina Hopper also joined the governors.
On Monday morning, governors met with the President, followed by Capitol Hill briefings with leaders in Congress on health care reform, tax reform and cybersecurity and a press briefing with former governors Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH).
For more news, photos and video from the 2017 NGA Winter Meeting, click here. The nation's governors will next convene in Providence, Rhode Island, July 13-16, for the 2017 Summer Meeting.