NGA Welcomes Governors to 2007 Winter Meeting
Governors to Focus on Innovation America, State, Federal Issues
The nation's governors convene this weekend to address critical issues including
innovation. The governors also will meet with President Bush and members of his cabinet,
academic leaders, business executives and other experts for discussions on a host of challenges
Led by NGA Chair Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano and NGA Vice Chair Minnesota Gov. Tim
Pawlenty, business sessions at the four-day event will include three major plenaries and
meetings of the four NGA standing committees. The NGA Winter Meeting will run from February
24-27 at the J.W. Marriott Hotel.
A major focus of the meeting is Gov. Napolitano's chair's initiative, Innovation America. The
opening plenary session will set the stage for the sessions that follow-especially those that focus
on how states can compete more effectively in the global economy by promoting innovation. John
T. Chambers, Chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems, Inc., will outline how Cisco makes decisions
in the new global marketplace and what states should do to prepare their workforces for the 21st
century. Robert Rubin, former U.S. Secretary of Treasury and director and chairman of the
Executive Committee, Citigroup, Inc., will focus on the macro-economic effect of the current
international trade imbalance and its potential risks to economic growth and rising real wages and
"We need to out-innovate the competition to stay successful as a nation," said Gov. Napolitano,
"and states are in the best position to lead the way to change. STEM education is done at the
state level; so is much of post-secondary training, as well as development of incentives for
business innovation. Throughout this meeting we will focus on strategies to achieve success in
these critical areas."
The second plenary session on Sunday afternoon will highlight the importance of science,
technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in creating an "innovation environment" in
every state and feature a keynote address by James H. Simons, president of Renaissance
Technologies Corporation and founder and chair of Math for America. A distinguished panel
including Dean Kamen, inventor, entrepreneur and advocate for science and technology; Mary
Ann Rankin, dean of the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Texas; and William H.
Schmidt, University Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University.
The session will conclude with a presentation by noted communications consultant Frank Luntz,
who will speak about effective ways to communicate messages about innovation.
Governors also will take part in meetings of NGA's four standing committees-Economic
Development and Commerce; Education, Early Childhood and Workforce; Health and Human
Services; and Natural Resources-where they will discuss globalization and its affect on state
competitiveness, public-private partnerships in early childhood education, children's health and
clean energy investment.
Private "Governors Only" sessions, including a meeting with President Bush, provide governors a
venue for candid dialogue. "Although each state has unique strengths and challenges, every
governor can learn from our colleagues' experiences," said Gov. Pawlenty. "The NGA Winter
Meeting is a great opportunity to establish and strengthen these critical relationships."
The Winter Meeting will close with a final plenary session on Tuesday morning, featuring U.S.
Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and U.S. Representative Bart Gordon, also of
Tennessee, who will speak about the federal role in innovation and competitiveness.
Gov. Napolitano will conclude the opening news conference by signing a memorandum of
understanding with Doug McCarron of the Council on Competitiveness, commemorating a
collaborative relationship between the organizations to foster state economic competitiveness
and growth through policies that promote productivity-enhancing innovation.