Membership Monthly – April 2024

Updates from the NGA Membership Team for April 2024. For more about the programs below and a list of upcoming events please email us at:

ABOVE: Missouri Governor Mike Parson (top left), Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and First Lady Fran DeWine (top right), Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear (bottom left), and Maryland Governor Wes Moore (bottom right)

NGA Welcomes Governors’ Staffers to Utah

NGA Holds Convening for Governors’ Schedulers, Executive Assistants, Residence Managers and First Spouses’ Staff

This year, NGA’s Membership team has held multiple meetings and events designed to support Governors’ offices and their staff members. The meetings provide a robust networking forum and offer educational opportunities to support Governors’ staff members in their work helping Governors and First Spouses govern, further policy priorities and serve the residents of their states and territories.

NGA held a convening for Governors’ Schedulers, Executive Assistants, Residence Managers and First Spouses’ Staff in Salt Lake City, Utah, March 26-28

The meeting offered the Governors’ staff members who serve in these roles the opportunity to share best practices with their colleagues from other states.

During the convening, NGA Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox and First Lady Abby Cox welcomed the group to the Utah Governor’s Mansion. Governor and Mrs. Cox expressed appreciation for the group’s dedication to public service and stressed that Governors and First Spouses could not serve the people in their states and territories without the dedicated service and hard work of Governors’ schedulers, executive assistants, residence managers and first spouses’ staff members.

Coinciding with the convening for Governors’ staff, NGA also hosted its first retreat for First Spouses.

NGA thanks Governor and Mrs. Cox and their staff members for their considerable hospitality. NGA also thanks the First Spouses and Governors’ staff members who participated in the retreat and convening. 

Communications Spotlight

NGA Releases New Disagree Better Videos

NGA continues to release and promote videos Governors have recorded to highlight NGA Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox’s Chair’s Initiative: Disagree Better.

The latest videos feature NGA Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox and Maryland Governor Wes Moore as well as Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt and Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver. 

Research shows videos of this nature measurably reduce partisanship. Governor Cox has highlighted this research at Disagree Better events, and more details about this research can be found on NGA’s website.

NGA’s YouTube account features a channel where all of the Governors’ Disagree Better videos that have been released so far can be found.

NGA also created the Disagree Better Video Toolkit to help Governors’ offices and other stakeholders share the videos Governors have recorded to help promote the Disagree Better initiative.

Government Relations

NGA Leadership Issues Statement on National Guard

NGA Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox and Vice Chair Colorado Governor Jared Polis released a statement to ensure Governors retain the authority to control the National Guard personnel as laid out in United States Code (U.S.C.) Title 32, Section 104.

The statement comes in response to a Department of Defense proposal to transfer of Air National Guard (ANG) space units into the Space Force. The proposal would require Congress to override existing law that mandates a Governor’s approval for changes to a Guard unit.

Historically, Title 10 and Title 32 of U.S.C. have protected Gubernatorial authority of the ANG for more than 100 years. Governors operate with full authority as Commanders in Chief of ANG within their jurisdiction.

The Governors’ statement stresses that Congress should not consider any legislation that threatens Title 10 or Title 32 of U.S.C., noting Governors should maintain full authority as Commander in Chief of National Guard Assets. 

The full statement can be read here.

NGA Leads Congressional Briefing

This month, NGA’s Economic Development and Revitalization Task Force and the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) hosted a Congressional briefing to educate Congressional staff, Administration officials and other stakeholders on the environmental priorities of states and territories. 

The briefing featured Jordan Marsh, Director of Federal Affairs for South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster; Jim McCleskey, Washington Representative for North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper; and Karen Kudelko, Senior Deputy Director of Federal Affairs for Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. 

The panel highlighted the Task Force’s 2024 federal priorities, specifically safeguarding water resources by protecting the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs), prioritizing the needs of states and territories in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) 2024 reauthorization, and addressing the threats of forever chemicals (PFAS). 

Watch the briefing, linked below, and here.

Center for Best Practices – Vice Chair’s Corner

NGA’s Vice Chair Colorado Governor Jared Polis leads the Center for Best Practices.
ABOVE: NGA Vice Chair Colorado Governor Jared Polis recently held an event with the American Red Cross Blood Donors so Coloradans will now have even more opportunities to lend a hand with critical blood donations.

NGA, NLC Kicked Off EV Workforce Initiative

NGA and the National League of Cities (NLC) are partnering on a new project to help cities and states prepare workers for job opportunities generated by the expansion of electric vehicle infrastructure.

Earlier this month, the collaborative’s work kicked off in Washington, D.C., with a convening that brought together government, industry, postsecondary and workforce leaders to identify key opportunities, challenges and resources to advance the goals of the EV Workforce Collaborative. 

Learn more about the Collaborative’s goals here.

Governors Continue to Use Emergency Powers to Address the Drug Overdose Epidemic

NGA released a new publication detailing examples of ways Governors are using emergency powers to address the drug overdose epidemic.

Read the publication here.

Visit NGA’s webpage on Substance Use Disorder and Addiction to learn more about work states and territories are leading to address the drug overdose epidemic and substance use disorders. 

NGA Marks National Public Health Week     

In recognition of the April 1-7 observance of National Public Health Week 2024, NGA released a new written piece, Governors’ Health Priorities in 2024 State of the State Addresses, to unpack some of the health-related policies Governors have highlighted in their 2024 State of the State addresses.

Policies highlighted in Governors’ State of the State addresses have included: expanding behavioral health services and supports, investing in public health infrastructure, developing policy to improve maternal and child health outcomes, bolstering the healthcare workforce and expanding access to needed care, especially in rural and underserved communities.

NGA Releases Afterschool & Summer Learning Webinar 

NGA’s Center for Best Practices K-12 Education team released a new webinar, Strategies for Supporting Effective Afterschool & Summer Learning & Enrichment Strategies, as part of the webinar series State Strategies for Address K-12 Student Needs

In the episode, Aaron Dworkin, Chief Executive Officer of National Summer Learning Association, and Jodi Grant, Executive Director of Afterschool Alliance, share effective Governor and state strategies for promoting high quality afterschool and summer learning and enrichment programs in their state. 

The webinar follows NGA’s previous webinar Lessons Learned from Afterschool and Summer Learning Enrichment in 2021.

ABOVE: Watch webinar on strategies to address school safety.

NGA Releases Series of Maternal and Child Health Papers    

As a continuation of the NGA Center for Best Practices’ maternal and child health work (MCH), NGA has released a series of papers recounting innovative strategies used to address the impacts of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency on MCH populations.

Each paper aims to highlight strategies Governors and policy leaders have employed to address issues related to:

Governors Highlight AI Initiatives in State of the State Addresses

Artificial intelligence (AI) offers a tremendous opportunity to improve society. But, as with any new technology, AI also has potential drawbacks. In the absence of federal regulation, Governors are doing their part to mitigate risks and maximize benefits.

In their 2024 State of the State Addresses, a number of Governors highlighted work at the state level to address the opportunities and challenges presented by AI. Read more here.

NGA Shares Resources from Recent SNAP Briefing

NGA recently held a briefing with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

SNAP provides food benefits to low-income families to supplement their grocery budget so they can afford the nutritious food essential to health and well-being.

During the briefing, Associate Administrator of SNAP Cathy Buhrig provided an overview on the status of SNAP and opportunities for states and territories to request technical assistance.

Additional resources: 

NGA Releases Publication, Video on Recent Webinar about Manufacturing Support Strategies  

NGA released the publication Weaving State & Federal Manufacturing Support Strategies Through Regional Consortia.

The publication provides insights into a webinar NGA recently co-hosted with the American Manufacturing Communities Collaborative about ways Governors can incorporate practices employed by regional manufacturing consortia that have federal “designations” to strengthen manufacturing ecosystems.

In Memoriam

Remembering Governor Brennan

NGA is saddened to share former Maine Governor Joseph E. Brennan recently passed away.

NGA extends our condolences to the Governor’s family, friends and the people of Maine. 

Read more about Governor Brennan in a statement Maine Governor Janet Mills issued to honor his service.

April in Focus

NGA routinely shares photos of Governors at work. A sampling of this past month’s photo highlights follows.

Top Row (L to R):
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker donated blood.
Louisiana Governor Jeff Landy met with Canadian representatives.
Maine Governor Janet Mills greeted veterans at the Travis Mills Foundation Vietnam-Era Veterans Breakfast.

Middle Row (L to R):
Delaware Governor John Carney held an event to mark Autism Acceptance and Inclusion Month.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee met with a law enforcement officer.
Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey and New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu participated in a fireside chat at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute.
Bottom Row (L to R):
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont attended a basketball game.
Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen attended a hockey game.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed legislation to help ensure students are reading by grade level.