Membership Monthly – September 2023

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

ABOVE: Minnesota Governor Tim Walz (top left), Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (top right), Montana Governor Greg Gianforte (bottom left) and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers(bottom right)

Chair’s Initiative

NGA Hosts First Disagree Better Convening 

NGA Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox and New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu welcomed Governors, national experts and students to Manchester, New Hampshire, for the first 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 Maine Governor Janet Mills, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee and Vermont Governor Phil Scott.   

Centered on the theme of Correcting Misperceptions and Highlighting Commonalities, the event featured panel discussions with bipartisan experts leading nationwide efforts to reduce partisan animosity and foster healthy conflict; a debate facilitated by Braver Angels, a nonprofit dedicated to political depolarization; and a service project, “Show Up for Teachers.”

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.

At the New Hampshire event, Governor Cox announced NGA Vice Chair Colorado Governor Jared Polis will host the second Disagree Better convening in Colorado, November 13-14.

NGA Releases New Disagree Better Videos, Invites Governors to Record Messages

NGA recently released a new video of NGA Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox speaking about his NGA Chair’s Initiative: Disagree Better.  

Governor Cox invites Governors to record video messages as one way to raise awareness about the Disagree Better initiative.

As Governors record messages about the Disagree Better initiative, NGA will continue to share these on the organization’s website and social media accounts, including the official YouTube Disagree Better playlist. The current playlist includes videos featuring NGA Vice Chair Colorado Governor Jared Polis and Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb.

Council of Governors

New Governors Named to Council of Governors

President Biden announced his intention to re-appoint five members to the Council of Governors: Delaware Governor John Carney, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, Vermont Governor Phil Scott and Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon.

The President also announced his intention to nominate three new members: Idaho Governor Brad Little, Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey and South Carolina Henry McMaster.

Governors Walz and Scott will serve as co-chairs.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb and New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham also serve on the Council of Governors.

The Council serves as a forum for Governors and federal officials to maximize state-federal partnerships to address matters pertaining to the National Guard, homeland defense and civil support activities. 

More information about the Council of Governors, including an overview of its July meeting, can be found here.

In Memoriam

NGA is saddened to share that three former Governors recently passed away: Minnesota Governor Al Quie, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Tennessee Governor Don Sundquist.

NGA extends our condolences to the family members, friends and constituents of these former Governors along with our appreciation for their service to their states.

Communications Spotlight

NGA Promotes Governors’ Engagement Around September Holidays & Awareness Campaigns 

Several holidays and awareness campaigns take place during September, including Suicide Prevention Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, Recovery Month, Workforce Development Month and Preparedness Month in addition to Labor Day, Patriot Day and Constitution Day. 

Throughout the month, NGA will highlight work Governors are leading to mark these observances, including amplifying Governors’ messaging around these topics and related policy initiatives through NGA’s website and social media accounts.

Government Relations

Governors Urge Congress to Pass Appropriations for FY24

NGA Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox and NGA Vice Chair Colorado Governor Jared Polis released a statement urging Congress to pass appropriations for Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) before the September 30 deadline.

The Governors’ statement can be read here.

Center for Best Practices

NGA Releases Publication on Recent Energy Policy Institute 

NGA released the commentary 2023 Governors’ Advisors Energy Policy Institute.

The publication provides an overview of the 2023 Governors’ Advisors Energy Policy Institute NGA held in Providence, Rhode Island, August 1-3.

This annual Energy Policy Institute convened Governors’ energy policy staff from across the country alongside experts, federal officials, private-sector practitioners and NGA partners to share energy policy solutions, learn best practices and participate in peer-to-peer exchanges on timely energy policy challenges facing Governors of states and territories.

More than 100 attendees, including Governors’ advisors from 27 states and territories, attended the Energy Policy Institute.

Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee spoke at the event.

NGA Releases Commentary on Workforce Symposium  

NGA released a commentary to provide an overview of the Summer Workforce Symposium held in Fargo, North Dakota, with state workforce development leaders representing more than two dozen states.

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum took part in the event, discussing several major workforce-related bills he signed last spring.

During the Symposium, the NGA Center launched the Workforce Strategic Planning Collaborative. This new joint effort between the NGA Center and the U.S. Department of Labor will provide technical support to Governors as they develop their strategic vision to maximize the impact of new federal investments for their state’s workforce, namely the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), CHIPS and Science Act (CHIPS), and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

NGA Releases Roadmap for Tackling Drug Overdose Epidemic  

NGA released a roadmap to help support Governors and state officials in developing policy solutions to address unprecedented opioid overdose rates. Titled Implementing Best Practices Across the Continuum of Care to Prevent Overdose, the roadmap outlines concrete solutions across the full spectrum of health services: foundations, prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery.

This publication is an update to NGA’s 2016 Finding Solutions to the Prescription Opioid and Heroin Crisis: A Road Map for States.

The new roadmap reflects the evolving nature of the ongoing drug overdose epidemic and includes strategies specific to the rise of illicitly manufactured fentanyl in recent years.

The updated roadmap represents the contributions of more than 30 subject matter experts and 20 states and territories. Information was gathered through a roundtable convening in March 2023, virtual interviews about state initiatives, and learning calls.

Ten states are highlighted in roadmap for initiatives that exemplify best practices and innovative strategies in overdose prevention.     

The roadmap provides Governors with 17 specific, actionable recommendations to prevent overdose across five pillars of the Substance Use Disorder Continuum of Care: foundations, prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery.

NGA Releases Commentary on Availability of Nonprescription Overdose Reversal Drug

The first overdose reversal drug approved for nonprescription sale, Narcan® (naloxone HCl), is now available online and on retail store shelves. NGA released a commentary detailing why this nonprescription availability is an important milestone for states and territories.

NGA Releases Healthcare Workforce Commentary

NGA released the commentary Regional Workshops Explore Healthcare Workforce Solutions.

During the past three months, NGA’s Healthcare Delivery and Postsecondary Education teams convened teams from 20 states and territories in a series of regional workshops as part of the Next Generation of the Healthcare Workforce project.

These workshops brought together healthcare and workforce leaders to engage in regional discussions focused on common healthcare workforce challenges, hear from industry experts and develop innovative solutions.

Each meeting also featured a session led by an official from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) focused on how states and territories can best work with the administration and draw upon existing resources to support retention and recruitment efforts.

NGA Releases Infrastructure Publication about Recent Meeting

NGA released the publication Strategies to Address Engineering Workforce Challenges to detail ways states are making infrastructure investments following the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The publication provides information about a roundtable NGA held this year with the American Society of Civil Engineers to identify actionable approaches that private industry and public sector infrastructure groups can utilize to address workforce shortages.

NGA Publishes Commentary on Skills-First Revolution

NGA published the commentary States and the Infrastructure of Opportunity exploring how the skills-first revolution is in full swing as a growing number of states and big companies are dropping degree requirements and advancing skills-based hiring policies. 

Skills-based hiring has spread rapidly in the past two year, with no fewer than 10 states dropping degree requirements for most government jobs. Many large employers have made similar moves.

More information and resources are available on NGA’s Learning and Employment Record Use Cases webpage.

NGA Holds Youth Apprenticeship Academy

NGA recently held a convening in Washington, D.C., to launch the Policy Academy to Advance Youth Apprenticeship.

State teams from Alabama, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina and Utah were on hand to share best practices and common challenges, engage with policymakers working on youth apprenticeship at the federal level and begin working toward achieving their project goals.

Read more about the academy here.

NGA Launches Project to Support Five States to Bolster Mental Health and Well-Being in Schools

In partnership with the Wallace Foundation, NGA announced a collaboration with five states to develop and carry out action plans in support of student and staff mental health and well-being in schools.

Through the project, NGA will collaborate with Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon and Wyoming.

Governors’ offices will receive support from NGA and national and state partners and engage in peer learning opportunities as a cohort. States will receive grant support, provided by The Wallace Foundation, to develop and carry out action plans focused on one or more priority areas.

NGA Launches Healthcare Workforce Toolkit

The NGA Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) is excited to announce the public launch of the Healthcare Workforce Toolkit.

Since April 2022, the NGA Center has been working with a growing cohort of states and territories to support the recruitment and retention of the next generation of the healthcare workforce. This toolkit has been a vital resource for these teams and is now available to all states and territories.

The toolkit includes tools to support data and planning, licensing and regulation, training, recruitment and retention, and profession specific resources. These tools are accessible through this link, and online at  Please note that some resources are still restricted to the healthcare workforce project teams.

Fall Networking Reception

This month, NGA hosted its annual Fall Networking Reception at Google’s Washington, D.C. office. Several Governors’ state-federal affairs representatives attended the event along with NGA partners and other guests.

At the event, NGA’s executive director Bill McBride delivered remarks, highlighting NGA’s fall events for Governors and Governors’ staff members and thanking attendees for their ongoing collaboration with NGA.

September 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):
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer meets with a student during a visit to Forest Park Elementary in Eastpointe.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson participates in the opening ceremony of Fisher Delta Research Center’s annual Field Day.
Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro meets with a baby during a visit to Pittsburgh to mark Labor Day.
Middle Row (L to R):
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards meets with veterans during an event to declare Louisiana a Purple Heart State to honor those wounded or killed in service to our country.
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (left), Virginia First Lady Suzanne Youngkin (center) and Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (right) attend a football game.
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker attends the Illinois State Fair. 
Bottom Row (L to R):
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt attends a football game.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul helps open the New York State Fair’s Asian Village.
Idaho Governor Brad Little attends the Gowen Thunder Airshow.