At the 2017 National Governors Association (NGA) Summer Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, more than 30 governors, including newly appointed NGA Chair Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and Vice Chair Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, gathered to discuss critical policy issues, including:
- Confronting cyber challenges. At the opening plenary session, governors discussed cybersecurity and heard about Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe's chair’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 Gov. McAuliffe, included speakers such as Chris Bream of Tanium, Wes Kremer of Raytheon and Matt Spence of Andreessen Horwitz. The work of Meet the Threat will live on, both in the Governor’s Guide to Cybersecurity, a comprehensive resource for state officials that outlines concrete steps they can take to bolster cybersecurity practices, and NGA’s Resource Center for State Cybersecurity, which Gov. McAuliffe co-chairs with Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. At the session, Gov. McAuliffe also announced that 38 governors across the country had signed on to a compact to improve state cybersecurity in which they pledged to enhance cybersecurity governance, prepare and defend their states from cybersecurity events and help grow the nation’s cyber workforce.
- Collaborating to create tomorrow’s global economy. At this special session, Vice President Mike Pence gave opening keynote remarks to discuss health care in the country. Later, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave a keynote address highlighting the importance of the U.S.-Canadian partnership. Led by Gov. McAuliffe, Gov. Sandoval and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, the session also delved into agriculture, manufacturing and workforce development. The governors heard from Mayor Miguel Mancera of Mexico City, Mexico; Gov. Francisco Dominguez Servien from the State of Queretaro, Mexico; and Premier Kathleen Wynne from Ontario, Canada. The session was developed in cooperation with the National Conference of Governors of Mexico (CONAGO) and Canada’s Council of Federation (COF).
- Looking at the workforce of tomorrow. The plenary session highlighted ideas from in the states and overseas on apprenticeship and work-based learning. Summer Meeting Host Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo led the panel, which included Zoë Baird from the Markle Foundation and Judith Marks from Siemens USA.
- Preparing for the extreme. The plenary session focused on building resilient communities. The session, led by Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, chair of NGA’s Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee, and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, member of NGA’s Health and Human Services Committee, highlighted resiliency and flood prevention. The panel also heard from FEMA Administrator Brock Long, and Michael Berkowitz of 100 Resilient Cities.
- Understanding civic engagement. The special main stage lightning talk focused on understanding government by the numbers with the former CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer. Ballmer was introduced by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, who has focused on the issue of American civics in his time in governor.
- Examining new digital and advanced technologies. The closing plenary session launched Gov. Sandoval’s NGA chair’s initiative, Ahead of the Curve: Innovation Governors. The initiative focuses on technological innovation, specifically new products and processes that improve quality of life or deliver new value. The initiative will examine ways governors can help citizens, businesses and public sector prepare for the technological transformation of the economy, specially in the issues of energy and transportation. The session included a Q&A with Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
For more news, photos and video from the 2017 NGA Summer Meeting, click here. The nation's governors will next convene Feb. 23–26, 2018, in Washington D.C. for their annual Winter Meeting.