At the 2014 annual meeting of the Western Governors' Association (WGA) in Colorado Springs, Colo., the WGA announced that Governor Brian Sandoval has been elected as Chairman of the organization. Governor Sandoval has served as Vice-Chairman of the WGA for the past year.
"I am honored to have been chosen to lead the Western Governors' Association for the coming year," said Governor Sandoval. "Now more than ever, western states are facing a wide range of interconnected issues that have the potential to harm our economies. The WGA is known for its fierce bipartisanship and I look forward to working with all western governors to promote promising and effective policy for our respective states."
"I would also like to thank Governor Hickenlooper for his leadership of the WGA over the past year," Sandoval added. "Governor Hickenlooper truly embodies the spirit of the WGA and has kept it true to its purpose. I look forward to the chance to build on the work he has done."
Governor Sandoval also announced the creation of the Western Governors Drought Forum which will be the Chairman's initiative for the next year. The goal of the initiative will be to bring western states together to combat drought, and to recommit the WGA to play a leading role in these efforts. Part of the initiative will include a series of meetings to facilitate a dialogue about best practices for drought management, water, energy, and agriculture.
"Drought still threatens this country's recovery from one of the worst economic recessions any of us have known," said Governor Sandoval. "The goal of the Western Governors Drought Forum will be to foster partnerships and collaboration between western states to better predict and manage drought in the years ahead. We will look to and embrace local, state, and private sector expertise to assist our states and the WGA in achieving these goals."
As part of the annual meeting, Governor Sandoval participated in roundtable discussions that focused on water conservation, natural gas and energy production, and the interrelated challenges of drought, wildfire, and invasive species. The Washington Post held a "Western Issues Forum" that included Governors Brian Sandoval, John Hickenlooper, Matt Mead, and Steve Bullock. Governor Sandoval also met with Gina McCarthy, Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.
Governor Sandoval was joined at the WGA annual meeting by Governors Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota, Matt Mead of Wyoming, Sam Brownback of Kansas, Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota, Gary Herbert of Utah, John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Steve Bullock of Montana, Jan Brewer of Arizona, and Butch Otter of Idaho.
Established in 1984 through the merger of two Governors' organizations, the Western Governors' Association is an independent, non-partisan organization of Governors from 19 Western states and 3 U.S. --flag islands. The Association was formed to provide strong multistate leadership in an era of critical change in the economy and demography of the West.