Bipartisan leadership from America’s governors delivers solutions that work for all of us

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Bipartisan leadership from America’s governors delivers solutions that work for all of us

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There are places in America where results matter more than politics, where leaders work across the aisle to get things done, and where formidable challenges are met by an even stronger commitment to serving the public regardless of political party.  

If there’s one thing we have learned during the pandemic, it is that bipartisan leadership is what drives solutions for all Americans. 
 
Having both served in federal government, we know firsthand that there’s no better place to make a positive impact in people’s lives, through dialogue and problem-solving, than from the front lines of a governor’s office. This has been the top directive of the National Governors Association since its founding in 1908. It is through this dialogue that the NGA fosters and drives solutions to some of our nation’s most pressing problems.  

VIRGINIA’S YOUNGKIN AND NEW YORK’S ADAMS ARE WINNING BLUEPRINTS FOR THEIR PARTIES

 When U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called states “laboratories of democracy” 90 years ago, he was acknowledging that some of the best solutions to our national challenges come from the states. 

When governors gather in Washington this weekend for our largest bipartisan annual meeting, we are reminded of the wisdom of Justice Brandeis. This is the 114th meeting hosted by the association, and we will once again share best practices from our states and territories, and focus our bipartisan federal advocacy on top issues. These issues include efforts to strengthen our economy, public health, education system, workforce, infrastructure and energy resilience. It is also an opportunity to welcome new governors, and to share and expand our collective expertise and leadership.  

FILE - In this July 29, 2021 file photo, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson stands next to a chart displaying COVID-19 hospitalization data as he speaks at a news conference at the state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark. AP Photo/Andrew DeMillo

FILE – In this July 29, 2021 file photo, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson stands next to a chart displaying COVID-19 hospitalization data as he speaks at a news conference at the state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark. AP Photo/Andrew DeMillo

Like every governor serving during the worst public-health emergency in more than a century, we have worked tirelessly to promote workable solutions to protect the well-being of our citizens and to focus on our economic recovery, educating our children, and addressing other priorities. 

We have addressed top concerns ranging from procuring protective equipment for those who serve in our health care systems, distributing life-saving vaccines and incentivizing people to take them, and providing needed relief to small businesses and workers. And we continue to meet regularly to navigate through the pandemic together. 

We will continue to use our collective strengths and bipartisan leadership to drive solutions and address new difficulties that will inevitably come our way

We’ve done this against a backdrop of two presidential administrations and undeniable political polarization. Even so, governors have shown the benefits that result from working together to solve problems, and how we can successfully partner with federal leaders and the private sector to meet the needs of our nation. 
 
When it comes to infrastructure, for example, before the passage of the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, governors were working to counter decades of neglect in our roads, bridges and other critical needs by stretching precious dollars through public-private partnerships and other creative strategies. But knowing that states couldn’t accomplish everything on our own, governors came together to push Congress and the administration to take action on restoring the systems that support our economy and quality of life. These efforts helped bring about the bipartisan vote in Congress this past November, followed by the president signing into law the funding states need.  

FILE - New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy speaks during an election night event at Grand Arcade at the Pavilion on November 2, 2021 in Asbury Park, New Jersey. 

FILE – New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy speaks during an election night event at Grand Arcade at the Pavilion on November 2, 2021 in Asbury Park, New Jersey. 
(Mark Makela/Getty Images)

The next steps involve governors taking concrete steps to ensure that these funds flow where they are needed so that we can build state-of-the-art roads and bridges, expand broadband and internet access, repair and replace water systems, and modernize our airports.  

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We also are in Washington to explore ways to improve our educational systems, which have suffered during the pandemic, and to make sure that today’s primary, college and career education is aligned to future workplace trends and needs.  

Working with partners at the federal level, states and territories have launched evidence-based summer learning programs that address the instructional, social and extracurricular time students lost due to the pandemic, especially underserved students and those disproportionately affected by COVID-19. And we are working alongside federal agencies, the academic community and the private sector to design workforce systems to help job seekers displaced by the pandemic to better position themselves for the careers of the future. 

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This year’s NGA Chairman’s Initiative is tied to these objectives and focuses on expanding computer science education in our schools to prepare young people for jobs in the burgeoning technology field and to strengthen America’s digital literacy. 

We are once again utilizing the NGA’s bipartisan platform to engage states and territories to expand policies in the areas of internet access and connectivity to increase student access to computer science education so they will have greater opportunities to succeed in a rapidly changing workforce. 

As we meet the challenges of this year, we will continue to use our collective strengths and bipartisan leadership to drive solutions and address new difficulties that will inevitably come our way. 

It is this leadership that works on behalf of the American people and strengthens faith in public service.  

CLICK HERE FOR MORE FROM GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON

Democrat Phil Murphy is the governor of New Jersey and vice chair of the National Governors Association.

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