Membership Monthly – May 2023

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

ABOVE: Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (top left), Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon (top right), Illinois Governor JB Pritzker (bottom left) and American Samoa Governor Lemanu P. S. Mauga (bottom right)

Chair’s Initiative

Governors Murphy, Whitmer Hold Convening on Strengthening Youth Mental Health

Last month, NGA Chair New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer kicked off a two-day roundtable discussion with those on the frontlines of youth mental health care to advance the NGA Chair’s Initiative: Strengthening Youth Mental Health.

New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy, North Carolina First Lady Kristin Cooper and North Dakota First Lady Kathryn Burgum also participated in the event that focused on expanding access and quality of care for both youth mental health as well as maternal and infant health. 

ABOVE: Images from the Detroit convening 

The Michigan event was the third of four roundtable discussions Governors will convene in multiple states in support of the Strengthening Youth Mental Health initiative. Previous roundtables were held in California with Governor Murphy and Colorado Governor Jared Polis, and in Utah with Governor Murphy and NGA Vice Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox.

NGA released the commentary Youth Mental Health: Promoting Access and Affordability of Quality Treatment and Care to provide an overview of the discussions held during the Detroit meeting.

NGA has also released a new video providing highlights from the Detroit meeting.

Governor Murphy Unveils New Video to Raise Awareness about Mental Health, Announces Next Roundtable Scheduled for May 18

In Detroit, Governor Murphy unveiled a new video featuring American professional stock car racing driver William Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, Jr., to help raise awareness about mental health and seeking help.

ABOVE: Watch NASCAR driver Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, Jr.’s message
highlighting Governor Murphy’s Chair’s Initiative

The fourth and final stop on Governor Murphy’s nationwide listening tour on youth mental health issues will take place in Philadelphia May 18. Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro will host the event. Academy Award winning actress Goldie Hawn will also attend the event to highlight the work of her nonprofit MindUP that provides mental health resources to students and schools.

NGA Spring Reception

Governor Moore Recognizes NGA Partners & Governors’ Staff

On May 9, Maryland Governor Wes Moore joined a Spring Networking Reception NGA hosted for Governors’ state-federal affairs representatives, partners and guests from Capitol Hill and the Administration. 

During his remarks, Governor Moore spoke about the positive collaboration he’s had with NGA, sharing, “One of the first things that I did as Governor-elect was [go to] Governors’ school. And it is true if you look at everything — from appointments that have been made, decisions, bills that we have focused on, how we prioritize our movements, how we thought about the first hundred days — I want to be very clear that you and the NGA, your fingerprints have been all over everything.”

ABOVE: Maryland Governor Wes Moore speaks at NGA’s Spring Reception
ABOVE: NGA Executive Director Bill McBride, pictured with Governor Moore and U.S. Senator and former NGA Chair Delaware Governor Tom Carper, speaks at the reception

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, from July 12-14 for the NGA Annual Meeting. 

Meridian Partnership

New Development Opportunity for Governors’ Staffers

NGA is excited to announce a collaboration with the Meridian International Center for Governors’ staff members to learn about the fundamentals of diplomatic protocol and the resources needed to execute successful international engagements.

Across the year ahead, NGA will offer quarterly virtual training sessions. A resource guide and module will also be developed.

The first virtual workshop will take place in June.

Communications Spotlight

Governors Murphy, Cox Write Op-Ed on Employment Requirements 

NGA Chair New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Vice Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox have written the opinion piece “The College-Only Mindset Hurts the American Dream. It Needs to Stop Now.” 

Published in Newsweek, Governors Murphy and Cox write about tearing the paper ceiling that excludes so many talented applicants from state jobs and taking actions that better align worker skills with employment requirements.

Governors Murphy, Whitmer Write Op-Ed on Youth Mental Health

NGA Chair New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer have written the opinion piece Youth Mental Health is a Priority for our States

Published in The Detroit News, the Governors write about the country’s youth mental health crisis, focusing on initiatives in Michigan and New Jersey to tackle the crisis

Government Relations

NGA Community Renewal Task Force Sends FY24 Appropriations Letter to Congress

The Co-Chairs of NGA’s Community Renewal Task Force, Idaho Governor Brad Little and U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan, sent the Task Force’s Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations request letter to Congressional appropriators.

The letter highlights and urges continued support from Congress for federal programs in the Task Force’s purview, which include: Labor and Workforce Development, Career and Technical Skills, PreK-12 Education, Postsecondary Education, Criminal Justice, Housing and Agriculture. In addition to urging continued support, the letter also conveys how Governors utilize federal funding in their state or territory and its importance to governing effectively.

The Task Force’s priorities are echoed throughout the letter, notably efforts to pursue rural revitalization, improve workforce housing supply and affordability, strengthen state and territorial unemployment insurance systems, strengthen the public workforce system and support academic recovery efforts.   

Governors Issue Statement on Federal Debt Ceiling and 2024 FY Appropriations

In their roles as Co-Chairs of the NGA Public Health and Disaster Response Task Force, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont and Vermont Governor Phil Scott issued a statement to Congressional leadership regarding the federal debt ceiling and fiscal year 2024 appropriations. The statement called on Congress to engage with states on any proposals affecting safety net programs. 

Governors Discuss Energy and Infrastructure Permitting with White House Senior Advisor John Podesta

As Co-Chairs of the NGA Energy and Infrastructure Working Group, NGA Vice Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards recentlyled a discussion on permitting challenges with John Podesta, Senior Advisor to the President for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt and Montana Governor Greg Gianforte also participated in the discussion and shared ongoing efforts in their states.

During the discussion, Mr. Podesta answered questions regarding specific projects and sectors, discussed the importance of electric transmission projects to meeting the Administrations goals and provided insight into the Administration’s ongoing efforts to improve the federal permitting process

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. 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

Governors Highlight State Priorities at 2023 SelectUSA Investment Summit

This May, numerous Governors took part in the four-day 2023 SelectUSA Investment Summit held in National Harbor, Maryland. Hosted by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, the SelectUSA Investment Summit brought together Governors, White House officials and foreign business leaders to promote economic investment, innovation and entrepreneurship in the United States.

Several Governors took part in the Summit, including: 

● American Samoa Governor Lemanu Mauga

● Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs

● Delaware Governor John Carney

● Guam Governor Lou Leon Guerrero

● Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb

● Kansas Governor Laura Kelly

● Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards

● Maine Governor Janet Mills

● Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey

● Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer

● North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper

● Northern Mariana Islands Governor Arnold Palacios

● Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt

● Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi

● Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin

● U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan Jr.

During the Summit, Secretary Raimondo hosted a roundtable event with 13 Governors and NGA Executive Director Bill McBride, along with industry partners, to discuss the upcoming funding from the CHIPS and Science Act. Governors highlighted how they are already attracting semiconductor companies and technology companies in their states and territories. The CHIPS grants will help leverage ongoing state economic and workforce development strategies.

ABOVE: Pictured L to R, U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan Jr., Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey, Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs and Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb spoke at the SelectUSA Investment Summit that took place earlier this month 
ABOVE: Pictured L to R, Guam Governor Lou Leon Guerrero, Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi, Delaware Governor John Carney and Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt spoke earlier this month at the SelectUSA Investment Summit

Center for Best Practices – Vice Chair’s Corner

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

Commentary on Policy Solutions to Respond to Xylazine 

Coinciding with the May 9 observance of National Fentanyl Awareness Day, NGA released the commentary State and Federal Actions to Respond to Xylazine to explore how Governors have begun to implement a variety of policy solutions, ranging from bolstering drug checking initiatives to scheduling xylazine as a controlled substance at the state level, to address the significant health challenges caused by xylazine.

Xylazine, also known as “tranq,” is a non-opioid drug commonly used for veterinary purposes which has been showing up more frequently in the illicit drug supply. 

Commentaries on Priority Issues Outlined in State of the State Addresses

NGA has released several commentaries about priorities Governors have outlined in their 2023 State of the State and budgetary addresses.

Commentaries related to 2023 State of the State and budgetary addresses include:

Governors’ Top Health Priorities in 2023 State of the State Addresses

Governors Prioritize Postsecondary Education Pathways in 2023 State of the State Addresses

Governors Tout Bold Investments in Workforce Development During 2023 State of the State Addresses

Governors Propose Bold Economic Investments in 2023 State of the State Addresses

State Education Trends For 2023

Governors Focus on Affordable Housing

Governors Highlight Record Infrastructure Investment in State of the State Addresses

Commentary on Youth Mental Health and Substance Use 

NGA released the commentary Youth Mental Health and Substance Use to detail how Governors are working to protect and support youth with multi-disciplinary and strategic approaches that invest in root cause prevention and improve access to high-quality services. 

Publication on Energy Resilience for Healthcare Facilities 

NGA has released the publication Prioritizing Resilience: Best Practices on Energy Resilience for Healthcare Facilities. The paper contains best practices Governors and states can take to help best position healthcare facilities to manage energy stressor events, such as health waves and disaster, and foster energy resilience for healthcare facilities.

Commentary on Skills-Based Hiring 

NGA released the commentary Governors Leading on Skills-Based Hiring to Open Opportunity Pathways to examine how this hiring strategy can remove some of the barriers that currently screen out qualified job candidates and bring a more diverse range of perspectives and skill sets into the workforce.

This commentary comes following the April letter NGA Chair New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and NGA Vice Chair Utah Governor Spencer Cox circulated to their fellow Governors urging them to take action to implement skills-based hiring practices for government jobs in their states. “It’s a simple step that strengthens the talent pipeline into state government, sets an example for private sector employers, and opens opportunity to so many,” the Governors wrote. Governors Murphy and Cox also recently wrote an opinion piece on this topic that was published by Newsweek.

Commentary on Rural Economic Development and Healthcare

NGA released the commentary Governors and States are Advancing Equitable Rural Economic Development and Healthcare.

The publication explores how states and territories are working to advance economic development and healthcare in rural communities. More than 90% of U.S. land is considered rural, and one in five people in the U.S. live in rural places.

The piece also provides details about two virtual roundtables NGA recently hosted on this topic. One of the roundtables focused on equitable economic development, and the other explored equitable healthcare for rural communities.

Commentary on Connections Between the Shortage of Housing and Workers

NGA released the commentary How Governors are Addressing Housing Access and Affordability and the Connection to Workforce Success

The piece explores the interconnectedness of the shortage of affordable and available housing with the shortage of workers occurring in communities and regions throughout the United States. 

Publication on Using Transportation Funds for Workforce Development & Postsecondary Education 

NGA released the publication Strategies for Deploying Surface Transportation Funds for Workforce Development and Postsecondary Education

The piece explores how the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act IIJA includes provisions that provide new flexibility for Governors and workforce development and education policymakers to use funds from four Federal Highway Administration programs for talent development activities.

NGA Technical Assistance Opportunity – Build Vaccine Confidence with Behavioral Insights 

The NGA Center is partnering with the Behavioral Insights Team (BIT) to provide free, targeted technical assistance (TTA) to assist states and territories in their vaccine confidence and uptake strategies. 

As part of this technical assistance, states can receive free expert advice from BIT’s behavioral scientists who can provide evidence-based support to:

  1. 1) Provide high-level feedback to support programs or policies to boost vaccination rates
  2. 2) Optimize vaccine messaging for routine immunizations and back-to-school campaigns
  3. 3) Consider how behavioral insights could address a specific challenge related to COVID-19 vaccination

Webinar Released: Lessons From the World’s High-Performing Education Systems

NGA released the webinar Lessons From the World’s High-Performing Education Systems: A Conversation with Andreas Schleicher.

This webinar features a conversation with Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary General at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). 

In the webinar, Schleicher discusses global policy and research relating to K-12 education, including international models for addressing academic supports, student mental health and well-being and educator recruitment and retention.

Commentary on Addressing Behavioral Health Workforce Needs

NGA released the commentary Governors Lead the Way on Behavioral Health Workforce Needs

The piece explores ways Governors are leading efforts to address the mental health workforce shortage, improve the resilience of healthcare systems and increase the number of people who can access critical care.

First Spouses Programs

NGA Kicks Off First Spouses Series on Understanding the Incarcerated Experience

On April 24, several First Spouses took part in the NGA Spouses Series on Understanding the Incarcerated Experience: Pregnancy and Motherhood. Indiana First Lady Janet Holcomb served as a featured speaker, and Utah First Lady Abby Cox, Minnesota First Lady Gwen Walz and Washington First Lady Trudi Inslee participated in the virtual roundtable series designed to build upon the NGA Winter Meeting’s First Spouses session on incarcerated women. In this first roundtable, NGA and the Women’s Justice Institute (WJI) led a discussion on pregnancy and motherhood while incarcerated.

During the call, Indiana First Lady Janet Holcomb discussed the importance of mother-child bonds and how mother and baby units at state prisons can prevent harmful separation of infants from their mothers when there are no other options. 

Additionally, Founder and Director of RestoreHER Pamela Winn drew from her own lived experience to share the impact of prison conditions on pregnant women, access to health care and the need for alternatives.  

Executive Director of Pathfinders Network Leticia Longoria Navarro shared her experience as a child of a mother who was incarcerated and provided information about her organization’s programming for mothers and children to maintain family bonds.

May 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):
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signs legislation to provide support to foster and adoptive families
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz meets with an athlete
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers visits a farm 
Middle Row (L to R):
Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders meets with military service members
Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen celebrates Rodeo Week
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem meets with the state’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous People coordinator 
Bottom Row (L to R):
Hawai‘i Governor Josh Green, M.D. holds a chili fundraiser to support the Hawai‘i Foodbank
Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo takes part in an event to recognize school employees
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont joins the Connecticut Humane Society for an event at the State Capitol