Governors Open 93rd Annual Meeting in Providence
With a revitalized downtown in the background, National Governors Association (NGA) Chairman Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening, joined by NGA Vice Chairman Michigan Gov. John Engler and host Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Almond, welcomed America’s governors to Rhode Island today for four days of business meetings to discuss issues ranging from smart growth to energy policy to higher education.
Forty governors are expected to attend the association’s 93rd Annual Meeting.
“How uplifting it is to me to roll out the red carpet Rhode Island style and help make my colleagues and their staffs from throughout our nation and the United States territories, feel at home here at a place I’ve called home all my life – the Ocean State,” said Gov. Almond during the meeting’s opening press conference from the top floor of the Rhode Island Convention Center. “From our beaches and parks to our historic cultural sites, from the Newport mansions to Roger Williams Park Zoo, Rhode Island has something for everyone.”
Gov. Glendening, noting the meeting’s location as an exemplary example of community revitalization, said, “Today, the very phrase “smart growth” has been adopted as shorthand for growth that is better planned, more environmentally sensitive, and more sustainable. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find a governor who has not made this a top priority,” said Gov. Glendening, whose chairmanship focused on providing governors with smart growth strategies. “Under my term as NGA chair, the association also launched a four-year initative on higher education. Both of these areas – smart growth and higher education – will be subjects of our plenary sessions over the next three days. They are important to all governors and unique in that these issues directly touch the lives of our citizens each and every day.”
Gov. Engler laid out details of the meeting agenda. Among the highlights:
- Today, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson will meet with governors during a governors-only luncheon;
- Tomorrow, governors will hear from Theodore Roosevelt IV, chair of the League of Conservation Voters, on the issue of private, working lands conservation;
- On Monday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick, Japanese Ambassador Shunji Yanai, Ambassador of Singapore Heng-Chee Chan, and Mexican Deputy Chief of Mission Mario Chacn will discuss states’ role in international trade;
- Also on Monday, U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham will outline President Bush’s national energy policy; and
- On Tuesday, governors will wrap up their meetings with a plenary session on higher education.
“From welfare reform to energy policy the nation’s governors will have the ability to listen and share the successes that they have in their in own states with leaders from all over the country,” said Gov. Engler. “Thank you to Governor Almond for hosting this year’s conference, and to Governor Glendening for his year of service as the chair of NGA.”