DES MOINES—Today at the National Governors Association (NGA) Summer Meeting, NGA Chair Utah Gov. Gary Herbert showcased state innovation as part of his chair’s initiative, States: Finding Solutions, Improving Lives. The initiative highlights governors’ innovative solutions to some of today’s most pressing problems, including education and workforce development, economic development, cybersecurity, renewable energy, criminal justice reform and tackling the opioid epidemic.
“States are the real policy innovators, the true ‘laboratories of democracy,’” Gov. Herbert said. “The aim of my chair’s initiative was simple: to showcase where the real innovation in this country takes place—at the state level.”
“My colleagues have implemented some of the most innovative solutions across the country,” he added. “I’m happy to say we were able to find more than enough examples across all of the states, territories and commonwealths.” Each state solution highlighted is innovative, relevant and good for the public.
At the meeting’s Opening Session Friday morning, three people whose lives were improved by the initiatives in Utah, Iowa and Virginia participated in a panel moderated by award-winning journalist John Hockenberry, who hosts “The Takeaway” on WNYC.
Libby Shelton, a caseworker for the Intergenerational Poverty Initiative in Utah, talked about how the initiative is addressing intergenerational poverty at the local level, with the goal of improving families’ quality of life and helping them become economically self-sufficient. Barry Condrey, chief information officer for Chesterfield County, Virginia, touched on how localities are identifying opportunities to increase cyber resilience. Brian Crozier, a veteran from Iowa, discussed the Home Base Iowa initiative, which matches veterans with employment opportunities.
Another goal of Gov. Herbert’s initiative is to enhance a collaborative state-federal partnership. At the conclusion of the Opening Session, Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, took questions from governors on the state-federal relationship. On Saturday, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi will answer the same questions.
“I am thrilled members from the House and Senate leadership on both sides of the aisle are addressing the nation’s governors to talk about the partnership between states and the federal government on some of the most important issues affecting the nation,” said Gov. Herbert.
States: Finding Solutions, Improving Lives serves as the central theme of governors’ Summer Meeting. Other sessions will focus on addressing the nation’s opioid crisis, generating jobs and economic growth, agriculture and the economy and the effect of changing demographics on states. Governors will also hold special governors-only sessions throughout the weekend. The meeting concludes on Saturday afternoon with a session on cybersecurity, where incoming chair Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe will announce his chair’s initiative.