Membership Monthly – April 2023

Updates from the NGA Membership Team for April 2023. For more about the programs below and a list of upcoming events please email us at:

Governors Meet with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy

This month, Governors met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy via video conference to receive an update on Ukraine’s humanitarian and security situation and to express bipartisan support for the Ukrainian people in their fight against the Russian invasion. 

During the meeting, NGA Chair New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Vice Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox reaffirmed Governors’ commitment to Ukraine’s freedom and sovereignty.

Following the call, Governors Murphy and Cox held a call with reporters to provide insights about the meeting.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Governors have taken a variety of actions in solidarity, including welcoming Ukrainian refugees, partnering with charitable organizations to send humanitarian aid, overseeing the donation of surplus equipment from law enforcement departments, banning the sale of Russian products, and reviewing state investments and contracts to eliminate any financial support for the Russian regime.

Additionally, National Guard service members have been deploying in support of Ukraine. Guard members are training the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and the National Guard has sent critical supplies and equipment in addition to providing strategic counsel.

NGA has released a commentary detailing more examples of the ways Governors and states have been working to support the people of Ukraine.

Video of the meeting is available here.

The Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics provides more historical insights about the 42 women who have served, to date, as Governors.

ABOVE: Watch Governor Murphy’s video recap of the Governors’ meeting with President Zelenskyy.

Chair’s Initiative

Washington Post Highlights Governors’ Leadership Addressing Youth Mental Health Crisis

The Washington Post has published the editorial “America’s teens are in crisis. States are racing to respond.” 

The editorial notes the work of NGA Chair New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s Chair’s Initiative: Strengthening Youth Mental Health and highlights a number of policy initiatives Governors are leading to address the country’s youth mental health crisis.

Third Chair’s Initiative Roundtable to Occur in Detroit

NGA will host the third roundtable convening for NGA Chair New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s 2022-23 Chair’s Initiative on Strengthening Youth Mental Health in Detroit, Michigan, April 19-20.

The roundtable will bring together Governors, First Spouses, private sector leaders, and policy and subject matter experts for a conversation on states’ roles in strengthening youth mental health.

In addition to discussions on youth mental health, this event will also focus on maternal and infant health, a top policy priority of New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy.

NGA Annual Meeting

NGA Annual Meeting to Occur in Atlantic City July 12-14

NGA will welcome Governors, First Spouses and their staff members to Atlantic City, New Jersey, for the NGA Annual Meeting. 

The Annual Meeting will start July 12, with the Council of Governors lunch and meeting, NGA Executive Committee meeting, and Federal Intergovernmental Agency meetings, followed by a Chair’s Initiative session, welcome reception and evening entertainment that will feature The Midtown Men, the four stars of the original Broadway cast of Jersey Boys.

On July 13, after the opening plenary, a full day of task force meetings and work sessions will be held. The evening will conclude with an event held at the iconic Steel Pier. 

The meeting will conclude around lunchtime on July 14. The final day of the meeting will include essential business sessions, the closing plenary and the transition of leadership.

Communications Spotlight

NGA Partners with Stand Up To Jewish Hate Campaign 

NGA partnered with The Foundation to Combat Antisemitism (FCAS) for the mass media campaign #StandUpToJewishHate.  

The campaign started to inform and educate those who are not knowledgeable about antisemitism and to drive increased awareness and understanding.

This month, NGA has supported the campaign on its social media channels using the hashtag #StandUpToJewishHate and the campaign’s blue square symbol: #🟦. NGA also provided Governors’ offices with a toolkit to help Governors engage with NGA on social media throughout the campaign.

To help amplify the campaign, NGA released the commentary Governors Stand Against Antisemitism to examine the longstanding work Governors have spearheaded to prevent ideologically inspired violence, including compiling data, reducing risk factors, educating the public, connecting people to prevention services and fostering community resilience.

ABOVE: Watch NGA Chair New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s video #StandUpToJewishHate video message.
ABOVE: Watch NGA Vice Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox’s video #StandUpToJewishHate video message.

Government Relations

Governors Murphy & Cox Send Letter Urging Fellow Governors to Reevaluate Degree Requirements for State Government Jobs

NGA Chair New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Vice Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox sent a letter to Governors encouraging them to consider reevaluating degree requirements for government jobs in their states to strengthen state government and to serve as a model to employers in the private sector.

Governors Murphy and Cox write: “Unless we take action to better align worker skills with employment requirements, millions of jobs will remain unfilled and the potential of millions of workers unrealized,” and the Governors note: “In New Jersey and Utah, we have implemented policies to lower barriers to employment by prioritizing practical experience and skills training over degree requirements for state jobs.”

On Monday, April 10, Governor Murphy signed an Executive Order to prioritize work experience and skills over four-year degrees for certain state employment positions. Governor Murphy’s Executive Order makes New Jersey the seventh state to adopt a skills-based hiring model for state employment.  

Governors Call for Energy and Permitting Compromise

In their roles as Co-Chairs of the NGA Energy and Infrastructure Working Group, NGA Vice Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards released a statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act.

The statement calls on “Congress and the Administration to work together to find common ground to improve the energy and infrastructure delivery process” and urges “Congressional leaders and committees to work closely with states and territories in finding solutions that can pass both chambers and become law.”

The Energy and Infrastructure Working Group is focused on solutions to streamline the permitting process, address legal challenges and tackle procurement issues to speed delivery for projects across four categories: 1) energy transmission (pipeline and electric transmission lines); 2) utility-scale energy generation (including oil and gas, renewables and nuclear); 3) transportation; and 4) mining and materials.

The following Governors are participating in the Governors Energy and Infrastructure Working Group on behalf of all 55 states and territories:

  • ∙ NGA Vice Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox (Working Group co-chair)
  • ∙ Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (Working Group co-chair)
  • ∙ Illinois Governor JB Pritzker
  • ∙ Maine Governor Janet Mills
  • ∙ Montana Governor Greg Gianforte
  • ∙ New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu
  • ∙ North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum
  • ∙ Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt
  • ∙ Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi

NGA Sends Two Letters to Senate HELP Committee

NGA sent a letter to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) providing feedback on the causes of the healthcare workforce shortage and steps Governors have taken to address this issue. Senate HELP Committee Chair Senator Bernie Sanders and Ranking Member Senator Bill Cassidy are working on a bipartisan bill and requested stakeholder feedback on how to tackle the issue. 

The letter provides state and territorial examples of how Governors have taken innovative approaches to meet the growing healthcare workforce shortage.

NGA’s Public Health and Disaster Response Task Force Co-chairs, Connecticut Governor Lamont and Vermont Governor Scott, sent a separate letter to the HELP Committee providing feedback and recommendations on the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA), which is due to be reauthorized prior to the end of this fiscal year. The letter includes lessons learned from a number of states and territories from better coordination to addressing the many gaps in capabilities that exist.

The Committee is working in a bipartisan manner to reauthorize this critical law to improve the nation’s public health and medical preparedness and response capabilities for emergencies.

Center for Best Practices – Vice Chair’s Corner

NGA’s Vice Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox leads the Center for Best Practices.

ABOVE: Images of NGA Vice Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox meeting with Gold Star Families.

Governors’ Health Priorities for 2023 

NGA’s commentary Governors’ Top Health Priorities in 2023 State of the State Addresses highlights the key health related themes that emerged from a scan of Governors’ State of the State addresses and budget submission.

Issues at the top of mind for Governors include investing in the healthcare workforce, developing policy to improve maternal and child health outcomes, as well as expanding behavioral health services and supports.

Governors’ Workforce Development Plans for 2023

NGA released the commentary Governors Tout Bold Investments in Workforce Development During 2023 State of the State Addresses to amplify some of the workforce development initiatives Governors are advancing.

The variety of proposals offered by Governors include historic investments in what would be new and unique programs as well as resources for scaling programs that have proven to be effective, such as registered apprenticeships and wraparound supports that address non-skill barriers to work like childcare and transportation.

Several Governors also emphasized their agendas for incorporating skills-based hiring practices and establishing corresponding workforce development policy to successfully implement the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, CHIPS and Science Act, and Inflation Reduction Act.

Governors’ Economic Proposals for 2023

NGA released the commentary Governors Propose Bold Economic Investments in 2023 State of the State Addresses to explore examples of policies Governors detailed in their State of the State Addresses regarding investments to grow and diversify their states’ economies. The piece also explores the bipartisan priorities related to regional development, infrastructure, outdoor recreation and more. 

NGA Marks Black Maternal Health Week

Black Maternal Health Week runs April 11-17. Part of NGA Chair New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s Chair’s Initiative: Strengthening Youth Mental Health includes focus on the work of New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy to improve maternal and infant health. More information about Mrs. Murphy’s initiative is available through NGA’s website. Additionally, NGA has published the commentary Black Maternal Health Week 2023 to explore the steady increase and significant racial disparities in U.S. maternal mortality rates. 

Brief on Hydrogen as an Energy Source 

NGA published a new brief intended as a short introduction to hydrogen as an energy source. It discusses the various types of hydrogen and a variety of hydrogen use-cases that are nearing market readiness.

The brief also discusses recent federal support for hydrogen through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 and the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

Workforce Reentry for Justice-Involved Individuals

During the National Governors Association’s (NGA) Winter 2023 Workforce Symposium, the National Association of State Workforce Board Chairs (Chairs Association) – an affiliate network of the NGA Center for Best Practices – heard from public- and private-sector leaders about strategies to support justice-involved individuals by connecting them to training, supportive services and long-term employment opportunities.

NGA released the commentary Supporting Successful Workforce Reentry For Justice-Involved Individuals regarding the recent meeting and related work.

Creating a Culture of Accountability and Coordination in Healthcare

NGA released the commentary Public Health and Healthcare: Creating a Culture of Accountability and Coordination to explore ways states work with public health systems and the healthcare system.

Public Records Briefing 

The March briefing for Governors’ Legal Counsels focused on managing requests for public records.

Law Enforcement, First Responder Recruitment and Retention Briefing

The monthly briefing for the Criminal Justice Policy Advisors network discussed strategies and best practices for the recruitment and retention of law enforcement, corrections and first responder personnel.

Podcast on Preparing Effective Principals & School Leaders

NGA’s Center for Best Practices, K-12 Education Team released a new podcast, Episode 11: Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond on Preparing and Developing Effective Principals & School Leaders, as part of the podcast series, State Snapshots for Strengthening the Educator Workforce.  

Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University, Founding President and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute and President of the California State Board of Education, shares the findings of her new report Developing Effective Principals: What Kind of Learning Matters?. The report was produced as part of The Wallace Foundation School Leadership Knowledge Center.

Role Pharmacies Can Play Improving Health and Wellness

NGA released the commentary Health and Wellness in Pharmacies to detail a stakeholder forum the National Association of Chain Drug Stores held to explore how pharmacies can work collaboratively across the industry to reduce diet-related diseases. NGA was among the 26 organizations in attendance.  

K-12 Education Webinar

NGA’s Center for Best Practices, K-12 Education Team released a new webinar, Strategies For Cross-Agency Collaboration To Support Student Well-Being, as part of the webinar series, State Strategies for Addressing K-12 Student Needs

State Longitudinal Data Ecosystem Project Starts

In response to the increased focus on strengthening and expanding State Longitudinal Data Systems, the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center), in partnership with the Data Quality Campaign, launched the State Longitudinal Data Ecosystem to help Governors’ offices and other state officials better understand and optimize their state longitudinal data systems.

The goal of this project is to support states in aligning information across postsecondary and workforce systems and to help them consider promising practices for utilizing and scaling those systems to meet data and evaluation needs for other state-level programs.

This peer learning community will engage state teams and national experts over nine months through workshops and convenings focused on mapping current data assets, understanding the benefits of statewide longitudinal data systems and working towards modernizing and connecting current systems.

Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Montana and Wyoming are participating in the project.

Membership Programs

2023 Convening for Governors’ Schedulers, Executive Assistants, Residence Managers and Spouses’ Staff

NGA convened Governors’ Schedulers, Executive Assistants, Residence Managers and Spouses’ Staff in Princeton, New Jersey, March 22-23. The convening offered Governors’ staff members the chance to meet with colleagues from across the country as they participated in a number of meetings designed to provide information about best practices and resources available to help the staff members in their work with Governors and First Spouses.

NGA Chair New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy graciously hosted the attendees for a special event held at the New Jersey Governor’s Residence.

ABOVE: New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy and NGA Chair New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy welcome Governors’ staff members to New Jersey
ABOVE: Governors’ staff members pose for a photograph outside Drumthwacket, the official residence of the Governor of New Jersey

First Spouses Programs

NGA First Spouses Series on Understanding the Incarcerated Experience

NGA is kicking off a series of virtual roundtable conversations regarding the experiences of incarcerated women.

First Spouses are invited to join NGA on April 24 at 2 p.m. EDT for the first roundtable that will focus on pregnancy and motherhood while incarcerated. 

NGA and the Women’s Justice Institute will lead the discussion. Speakers will include:

∙ Indiana First Lady Janet Holcomb;

∙ Founder and Director of RestoreHER, Pamela Winn; and

∙ Executive Director of Pathfinders Network, Leticia Longoria Navarro.

April in Focus

NGA routinely shares photos of Governors at work through the organization’s social media channels. A sampling of this past month’s photo highlights follows.

Top Row (L to R): Oregon Governor Tina Kotek meets with a CTE student, U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan Jr. helps ring the opening bell at the NYSE and Maryland Governor Wes Moore welcomes Muslim leaders to Government House to celebrate Ramadan
Middle Row (L to R): Ohio Governor Mike DeWine visits a nonprofit that works with people with disabilities, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin receives a hair cut at a Richmond based barbershop and North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper observes Downs Syndrome Awareness Day
Bottom Row (L to R): Alabama Governor Kay Ivey celebrates National Agriculture Day, Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi observes Downs Syndrome Awareness Day and West Virginia Jim Justice holds a bill signing ceremony at an elementary school