WILLIAMSBURG, Virginia-Gov. Benigno R. Fitial joined other governors from across the country this weekend in Williamsburg, Virginia for the 2012 National Governors Association Summer Meeting. Fitial and his colleagues also met renowned business leaders and other experts for discussions about a variety of issues and challenges affecting states.
In line with the NGA Chair’s initiative for 2012, job creation and economic growth remained at the forefront of the agenda. National Governors Association chair Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, NGA vice chair Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell welcomed a bipartisan group of their colleagues for the association’s 104th Annual Meeting.
The initiative, dubbed “Growing State Economies,” focuses on providing governors and other state policymakers better policy options to assess the economic environment in their state and strategies to foster business growth.
“Economic growth is key to our success as governors, and now, more than ever, job creation and economic growth are top priorities for every state,” Heineman noted.
“I am extremely pleased that chairman Heineman chose to put economy at the top of the agenda,” said Fitial. “The issue of economy has been a top priority for us in the Commonwealth. The lieutenant governor and I have placed considerable focus on reinvigorating our economy and stimulating job creation. Truly, economic growth is key to our future.”
“Growing State Economies” provides ideas and options to help states recover from the national economic slowdown and to implement policies that will help foster innovation and entrepreneurship in the coming years. Heineman’s initiative aims to help the private sector grow and create new job opportunities for citizens. High growth businesses are one of the driving forces of the modern global economy, a primary source of job creation, prosperity, and economic competitiveness.
“Each governor has unique issues and challenges facing their respective state and this forum allows us to formulate solutions to address them,” said Fitial. “We want to create environments where businesses can grow and create jobs. I definitely would like to see a Commonwealth with more people getting back to work and less people depending on welfare benefits.”
As part of his initiative, Heineman delivered several products to governors. The first report, titled A Policy Framework, highlights six issues and activities that can be refined to improve the conditions for job creation. The second is a Twelve Actions report and accompanying pocket card that aims to provide governors and other state policymakers better policy direction and strategies for business growth. Additionally, each governor received an individualized state economic profile of their state.
Gov. Markell, of Delaware, will become the new chair of NGA at the conclusion of the meeting on Sunday. As is traditionally done, the new chair will unveil his initiative for 2013.
“The NGA has afforded governors with ways to keep people working together. Aside form balancing budgets, the nation’s governors all share the commonality of making sure our kids have the tools they need to succeed against growing mounting international competition,” said Fitial. “More importantly, we must seek ways to get people who need jobs back to work and help usher greater opportunities for those already working.”
Highlights of the meeting include:
* A session with Jim Collins, author and management educator, who will share his perspective on defining great leadership;
* A meeting of the Education and Workforce Committee to examine the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and former Education Secretary Margaret Spellings;
* Saturday meetings of the Economic Development and Commerce, the Health and Human Services Committee, the Natural Resources Committee, and the Special Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety; and
* A concluding session on Sunday morning when governors will discuss how to support entrepreneurial activity and hear from Steve Blank, author of The Startup Owner’s Manual and consulting professor at Stanford and U.C. Berkeley.
Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association is the collective voice of the nation’s governors and one of Washington, D.C.’s, most respected public policy organizations. Its members are the governors of the 55 states, territories and commonwealths. NGA provides governors and their senior staff members with services that range from representing states on Capitol Hill and before the Administration on key federal issues to developing and implementing innovative solutions to public policy challenges through the NGA Center for Best Practices. (Office of the Governor)