Membership Monthly – January 2023

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

Newly Elected Governors

NGA extends our congratulations to the following newly elected Governors. We look forward to working with these Governors and their staff members.

  • ● Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs
  • ● Arkansas Governor Sarah Sanders
  • ● Hawai‘i Governor Josh Green
  • ● Maryland Governor Wes Moore
  • ● Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey
  • ● Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen
  • ● Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo
  • ● Northern Mariana Islands Governor Arnold Palacios
  • ● Oregon Governor Tina Kotek 
  • ● Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro 

NGA Winter Meeting

Governors Murphy & Cox Preview Winter Meeting

In preparation of the NGA 2023 Winter Meeting, NGA conducted an interview with NGA Chair New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and NGA Vice Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox to preview the meeting scheduled to take place next month. Governor Murphy’s and Governor Cox’s insights follow.

What do you see as the top priorities for the upcoming Winter Meeting? 

Governor Murphy: “We’re looking forward to meeting with President Biden and members of his Cabinet to talk about our state priorities and to hearing from them about how states are going to benefit from the major laws he signed last year—CHIPS and Science Act, Inflation Reduction Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Personally, I’m looking forward to another discussion on my Chair’s Initiative, Strengthening Youth Mental Health, because we know that this topic transcends party lines as our nation’s youth are struggling right now. When we kicked off this initiative at the Summer Meeting in Maine we knew this would be a hot topic, but I have been blown away by the conversations we’ve already had during our first round table in Utah. I look forward to building upon that momentum at the NGA Winter Meeting and working with my colleagues across the aisle to develop a playbook to help our nation’s youth.”  

Governor Cox: “We’re looking forward to conversations among Governors and with Congressional leaders and the president. There is no shortage of challenging issues that need attention and Governors have a lot of expertise to offer, so we’re looking forward to talking with federal officials about energy and permitting policies, immigration, inflation, and much more.” 

Can you please share how you think the NGA Winter meeting helps further bipartisan policy solutions?  

Governor Murphy: “As Governors we have to solve problems that affect each and every one of our states. There aren’t Democratic problems or Republican problems, but issues that affect real people—the residents of our states. When Governors get around a table to talk about pressing issues we can find consensus because our residents depend on us to do just that. We’ve worked to address our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, offered best practices on keeping our schools and communities safer, and collaborated on critical priorities like public health and economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19. The NGA Winter Meeting offers another opportunity for all of us to share best practices and work together to solve the problems our states are facing.” 

Governor Cox: “For Governors there is nothing more useful than being in the room with other Governors and learning together. Governors care less about where the ideas come from than how well they work. The NGA meeting also offers really valuable opportunities for governors to engage with federal officials, both to leverage the collective influence of governors and to help federal officials cloistered in DC understand the real-world impact of federal policies.”

How will this year’s Winter Meeting help highlight the Chair’s Initiative Strengthening Youth Mental Health? 

Governor Murphy: “I am very much looking forward to the NGA Winter meeting and bringing together national experts to highlight our efforts to strengthen youth mental health and also discuss First Lady Tammy Murphy’s initiative to improve maternal and infant health across the country. We had a fantastic first convening hosted by Vice Chair Governor Cox in Utah and we are preparing to have our second convening with Governor Newsom in California next week. As we gather for the Winter Meeting, we look forward to reporting out the valuable lessons and examples learned thus far and using insights learned at the meeting to inform the playbook we will release in July about ways the in which states can provide resources and services to address the mental health crisis facing our nation. We will also preview our last two convenings which will address the final two pillars of our platform around ensuring access, affordability, and quality of care, as well as treatment, training, and supporting caregivers and educators.” 

Governor Cox: “Chairman Murphy’s initiative on youth mental health is a critically important and very timely effort, and we’re interested to spend time learning from subject matter experts at the meeting. We’re also eager to learn from other governors which policies are most successful.”

Can you share an example of where you have learned from other Governors in approaching a challenge? 

Governor Murphy: “We’re establishing a robust offshore wind industry off the coast of New Jersey and I’ve had some great conversations with Governors like Doug Burgum in North Dakota, where they’ve been generating power from wind for years, about how we can be successful.”

Governor Cox: “There are too many examples to list, but the pandemic dramatically accelerated the sharing of best practices among Governors. Every week we took ideas from other Governors and watched them take ours. When deciding on a vaccine prioritization plan, we took West Virginia Gov. Justice’s simple yet brilliant suggestion that we prioritize solely on the basis of age. We threw out the well-intentioned but overly complex plans from our medical community that prioritized different tiers of essential workers and instead administered our limited vaccine supplies on the basis of age, which helped us quickly drive down mortality rates. As a non-pandemic example, we’ve had a number of states approach us to learn about our SafeUT app, which helps put students in touch with mental health professionals and anonymously report concerning behavior.”

Communications Spotlight: NGA Highlights Inaugural & State of the State Addresses

NGA Resources about Gubernatorial Addresses, Biographies and Social Media Accounts

NGA maintains a resource to provide details about Governors’ inaugural addresses and state of the state, territory or commonwealth addresses, including the dates of the addresses as well as links to transcripts and/or video of the addresses.

Each year, NGA closely monitors Governors’ inaugural and state of the state addresses to help inform the organization’s overall communications strategy.

NGA is also currently promoting details about Governors’ addresses, such as video highlights, through NGA’s social media accounts, including Twitter and YouTube.

NGA’s website maintains other informative gubernatorial resources, including current and recently elected Governors’ biographies and links to their official social media accounts.

Chair’s Initiative

Second Chair’s Initiative Roundtable to Occur Next Week

NGA will host the second roundtable convening for NGA Chair New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s 2022-23 Chair’s Initiative on Strengthening Youth Mental Health in Los Angeles, California.

This meeting will take place January 24-25.

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 the 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.

ABOVE: Watch video highlights from the first of four roundtables held regarding the 2022-2023 NGA Chair’s Initiative: Strengthening Youth Mental Health

Government Relations

NGA, State and Local Organizations Commend Congress

NGA sent a joint statement with the leading organizations representing state and local governments at the federal level to commend Congress for providing flexibility to use American Rescue Plan Act funds for purposes of infrastructure, neighborhood revitalization and disaster relief.

This measure provides additional flexibility under the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds that were included in the American Rescue Plan Act and will support state and local governments to continue leading America’s recovery.

NGA Commends Congress for Passing the Fiscal Year 2023 Defense Spending Legislation

NGA Chair New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Vice Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox released a statement thanking Congress for passing robust funding to ensure the continued readiness of the National Guard through personnel and equipment.

“Governors note how important this funding is, in light of both the massive responses to the 2022 hurricane and wildfire seasons, as well as ongoing disaster response operations.” However, they continued, “Governors are disappointed that the legislation creates an unfunded mandate that preempts states, territories and local governments in terms of their financial reporting, as directed by the Financial Data Transparency Act, which was included in the final legislation. We urge flexibility in applying the rulemakings and request that Congress provide funding through future appropriations to support states, territories and localities in the adoption of these requirements.”

White House Releases IRA Guidebook

The White House released the first edition of a new resource titled Building a Clean Energy Economy: A Guidebook to the Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA) Investments in Clean Energy and Climate Action, which provides clear descriptions of the law’s tax incentives and funding programs intended to build a clean energy economy, lower energy costs, tackle climate change and reduce harmful pollution.

The Guidebook is intended to help state, local, territorial, and Tribal leaders, the private sector, non-profit organizations, homeowners and communities better understand how they can benefit from these investments and unlock the full potential of the IRA.

The Guidebook walks through the law program-by-program and provides background on each program’s purpose, eligibility requirements, period of availability and other key details.

Center for Best Practices – Vice Chair’s Corner

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

ABOVE: Watch a clip of NGA Vice Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox reflecting on 2022.

National Defense Authorization Act Summary

NGA has released a summary of H.R. 7776, the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023, that President Biden signed into the law December 23. 

This year’s bipartisan, bicameral agreement marks the 62nd consecutive year Congress has passed this piece of legislation that focuses on the most vital national security priorities and ensures military service members have the training, equipment and resources they need to complete their missions. The NDAA increases the topline authorization level by $45 billion above the President’s budget request to address the effects of inflation and accelerate implementation of the National Defense Strategy.

NGA Co-Hosts Meeting with U.S. DOE on Nuclear Weapons Waste Cleanup

The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center), in partnership with five other intergovernmental groups and the U.S. Department of Energy, hosted the 21st annual Intergovernmental Meeting with the U.S. Department of Energy on Nuclear Weapons Waste Cleanup from November 30 – December 1 in New Orleans.

At this event, NGA Center also hosted the Fall Meeting of the Federal Facilities Task Force (FFTF), a network of Governor-appointed representatives from 13 states with regulatory authority over the U.S. Department of Energy’s cleanup efforts.

This annual meeting convenes state, local, tribal and federal officials to discuss priorities and strategies for managing and storing defense nuclear waste and for remediation of production sites. It is planned and convened by six intergovernmental groups representing state, local and tribal officials affected by the ongoing cleanup of defense-related nuclear waste alongside the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM).

A written overview of the meeting is available here.

January 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.