WASHINGTON—Governors from across the country will gather in Williamsburg, Virginia, July 12-15, for the 104th Annual Meeting of the National Governors Association (NGA) to discuss important issues facing states. NGA promotes visionary state leadership, shares best practices among governors and speaks with a collective voice on national policy.

“Economic growth and job creation is fundamental to our future and is the most important issue facing governors,” said NGA Chair Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman. “This meeting is an opportunity for leaders from around the country to work across party lines. I have enjoyed serving as chair for this year and look forward to continuing these valuable conversations with my colleagues.”

“The Annual Meeting brings governors together at a bipartisan level to develop innovative and improved approaches to governing,” said NGA Vice Chair Delaware Gov. Jack Markell. “As evidenced over the past year, when we come together great things can be accomplished. I look forward to hearing about the work governors are doing in their states.” 

“Coming together in this platform gives governors a unique opportunity to engage in a dialogue about important issues affecting our states,” said Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. “I look forward to hosting my fellow governors in Virginia for what I know will be a fun and productive weekend and to showing off all that Colonial Williamsburg has to offer.”

The Annual Meeting will officially begin Friday, July 13, with a news conference. The opening session will highlight Gov. Heineman’s Chair’s Initiative Growing State Economies, which focuses on providing governors and other state policymakers with better policy options to assess the economic environment in their state and strategies to foster business growth. Jim Collins, author and management educator, will join governors to share his perspective on defining great leadership. The session will conclude with the recognition of NGA’s Corporate Fellow who are marking 15 and 20 years of membership.

Following the opening session, the Education and Workforce Committee will convene to examine the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Governors will be joined by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and former Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, president and chief executive officer of Margaret Spellings and Company.

Saturday will include meetings of the Economic Development and Commerce (EDC), the Health and Human Services Committee (HHS), the Natural Resources Committee (NR) and the Special Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety (HSPS).

EDC committee members will discuss agricultural trade. Guests for the session are Kansas Department of Agriculture Secretary Dale Rodman and Kevin Kimle, director of the Agricultural Entrepreneurship Initiative and Rastetter chair of Agricultural Entrepreneurship at Iowa State University.

During the HHS Committee session, governors will focus on innovative strategies to lower Medicaid costs. Dr. Jeffrey Brenner, founder and executive director of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers; Jennifer DeCubellis, director of Hennepin County Health in Minnesota; and David H. Vellinga, president and chief executive officer of Mercy Medical Center will speak at the session.

The NR Committee will explore the states’ role in creating the modern electric grid with Paul Peterson, senior associate at Synapse Energy Economics, Inc.

Finally, the HSPS session will include a governors’ roundtable about better serving our nation’s veterans and receive a briefing on biosurveillance with Rear Admiral Ali S. Khan, M.D., director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sunday morning’s session will focus on what governors and other state policy leaders can do to support entrepreneurial activity. They will hear from Steve Blank, author of The Startup Owner’s Manual and consulting professor at Stanford and U.C. Berkeley.

Throughout the meeting, governors will attend “Governors-Only” sessions, which provide an opportunity to discuss issues states are facing in a private, off-the-record setting.

The Annual Meeting will conclude with a welcome to incoming NGA Chair Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and the incoming vice chair, who will be announced at the meeting. In addition, Gov. Markell will unveil his 2012-2013 Chair’s Initiative.