Governors from across the nation gathered in Washington, D.C., for the 2013 National Governors Association (NGA) Winter Meeting. Governors will meet with President Obama, members of his Administration, business leaders and other experts for conversations about issues and challenges facing states.
Led by NGA Chair Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and NGA Vice Chair Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, business sessions at the event will include opening, special and closing sessions and meetings of the four NGA committees.
The official business portion of the meeting will begin this morning with an opening session that will focus on Gov. Markell's Chair's Initiative, A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities. This initiative focuses on the employment challenges that affect individuals with intellectual and other disabilities and the roles both state governments and businesses can play in advancing employment opportunities for these individuals. Gregory D. Wasson, president and CEO of Walgreens, will address the governors and then join in a discussion.
"Every governor wants to be the "jobs' governor," said Gov. Markell. "We can't forget the people in our states with disabilities; we need to be the jobs governor for them, too. That's why I've chosen to focus my initiative on ways that states and businesses can increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities."
Later today, the Economic Development and Commerce Committee will have a conversation about federal tax reform. Concurrently, the Health and Homeland Security Committee will take on the issue of cybersecurity as well as the nationwide public safety network.
On Sunday morning, governors will gather for a special session on how states can assist businesses in employing people with disabilities. Later that day, the Education and Workforce Committee will look at ways to support teachers and school leaders. Meanwhile, the Natural Resources Committee will meet to discuss extreme weather events and how best to coordinate with the Army Corps of Engineers.
"Through NGA, governors identify the priorities of our states and find common ground that unites us," said Gov. Fallin. "The NGA Winter Meeting is a great opportunity to learn from our peers and share our own best practices. We certainly have a busy weekend ahead, and I am eager to get to work."
On Sunday evening, governors and their spouses will join the President and Mrs. Obama at the White House. On Monday, governors will return for a meeting with the President and Vice President.
Prior to Monday's meeting at the White House, governors will meet in a closing session to consider the NGA policy positions. They also will hear from Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of the The Dr. Oz Show. Throughout the meeting, there also will be "Governors-Only" sessions to provide governors the opportunity for discussion among themselves.