The National Governors Association meeting is underway in Washington DC and the nation’s governors are aiming to make sure Congress and the White House hear their concerns. The governors were welcomed by the President at a black tie kick-off event Sunday evening. Key issues on the agenda will range from infrastructure to gun control, and controversial new laws like those dealing with the use of marijuana in Colorado and Washington.
The Association is currently chaired by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin who started with an agenda of “flexible federalism,” which she says outlines the need for the federal government to give the states the flexibility to improve programs in their states based on the needs of local populations. The Association is also pushing for federal programs that save the states money, reiterating that deficit reductions at the federal level should not come through cuts to state aids or the growth of unfunded mandates.
Education will also be a key focus area, Fallin and Colorado Governor Hickenlooper are leading the efforts as outlined in the NGA Chair’s Initiative, America Works: Education and Training for Tomorrow’s Jobs. The initiative focuses on improving state education and workforce training systems and aligning those systems with the needs of state economies. Additionally, she released the report, America Works: The Benefit of a More Educated Workforce to Individuals and the Economy, that frames the issue.
The governors will also be making a big push with DHS, DoD, and the White House to halt any cuts to the national guard citing the need for guard support during natural disasters and other security concerns that happen inside the US.
President Obama has called on all of the governors present in Washington for the annual meeting to make 2014 a “year of action,” asking them to join him in what he says will be a “breakout year.”