Governors Cox and Polis Call for Healthy Political Debate at Colorado Event

Westminster, Colorado – National Governors Association (NGA) Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox and NGA Vice Chair Colorado Governor Jared Polis collaborated for the second in a series of bipartisan events to help address toxic polarization in America – the aim of Governor Cox’s 2023-24 NGA Chair’s Initiative: Disagree Better.

The bipartisan event was also attended by Montana Governor Greg Gianforte and Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt.

“Political polarization has reached a crisis point,” said Governor Cox. “Partisan animosity doesn’t just create government gridlock. It generates political violence and endangers America’s role on the world stage. I’m proud that Governors are stepping up to demonstrate that it’s possible – and imperative – for Republicans and Democrats to disagree strongly without hating each other. We can stand up for our principles without tearing each other down.”

“In Colorado, good ideas and good policy come from everyone. Our democracy is built around the freedom to debate and challenge ideas. Now, we must work to ensure our discourse are places of respect, where we bridge divides and forge connections. As we head into the holiday season, we can all do our part to set an example of how to have healthy, civil, and productive disagreements,” said Governor Polis. 

The Westminster, Colorado, event centered on teaching youth about healthy conflict and fostering open debate, free expression and viewpoint diversity in higher education. In addition to panel discussions and a service project focused on Unified Sports, the event also featured a student debate at the University of Denver, facilitated by Braver Angels.

Launched in July, Disagree Better is a yearlong initiative to help Americans learn the skills of healthy conflict. The effort aims to change the political behavior of both voters and elected officials, showing that the right kind of conflict often leads to better policy, can be more successful politically than negative campaigning, and is the pathway to restoring trust in our political institutions.

During the event, Governor Cox shared Disagree Better’s latest bipartisan video, featuring Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, a Democrat, and Missouri Governor Mike Parson, a Republican.

Learn more about the Disagree Better initiative, and upcoming bipartisan events, on the NGA website.