Smart Growth and Higher Education Take Center Stage at NGA Annual Meeting

August 3, 2001

Smart growth and higher education will be the focus of the 93rd Annual Meeting of the National Governors Association (NGA), August 4-7 in Providence, Rhode Island, as governors meet to discuss the most important issues facing their states.

The Annual Meeting marks the culmination of NGA Chairman Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening’s yearlong initiative on growth and quality of life. The first of two plenary sessions at the Annual Meeting will focus on the governor’s initiative, “Where Do We Grow From Here?” The initiative was kicked off at the NGA Annual Meeting in Pennsylvania in July 2000 to help the nation’s governors better steer future growth, increase preservation of natural resources, encourage community revitalization and ensure that Americans maintain a high quality of life. Theodore Roosevelt IV, a rancher, businessman and great grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt will address the governors on land preservation at the plenary.

The second plenary session will focus on higher education. Governors will examine the crucial role that states will play in the future of higher education under NGA’s first-ever major initiative on the subject, “Influencing the Future of Higher Education,” co-chaired by Kentucky Gov. Paul E Patton and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge. The initiative was formally launched during a roundtable discussion in March 2001 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The four-year initiative seeks to elevate national and state dialogue on postsecondary education and to equip governors and their advisors with the ability to strengthen their postsecondary education systems.

Like most associations, NGA’s meetings are where the organization conducts it’s business meetings – not meetings for the general public. The meetings are for NGA’s members, which are governors. No outside groups or individuals participate in the meetings, unless they are invited speakers or panelists. Registered attendees for NGA meetings can observe business sessions, but they do not participate. C-SPAN often airs these business sessions. No attendees, including the media, are allowed to observe “Governors-only” sessions.

NGA committees and task forces also convene at the Annual Meeting. This includes a “Chairman’s Initiative” task force that is organized each year to reflect the special focus of the NGA chairman. Gov. Glendening and NGA Vice Chairman Michigan Gov. John Engler co-chair a Growth and Quality of Life Task Force, which includes governors from Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon and Rhode Island, along with their senior policy staff. In this session, attendees will be able to participate electronically in a visual preference survey created by Anton C. Nelessen, an expert in community based planning and design, who will also moderate a panel discussion on community- based planning and design with developers, corporate fellows and public policy representatives.

NGA also creates special task forces of select governors to focus on high-priority, cutting-edge issues for states. To help governors realize the full impact of electronic government and it’s implications for transforming state government, the NGA created the e-Governance Task Force, co-chaired by Kentucky Gov. Paul E. Patton and Wyoming Gov. Jim Geringer. The e-Governance Task Force session at the Annual Meeting will include motivational speaker Dr. Michael Hammer, founder and director of several high-technology firms, and named by Time Magazine to its first list of America’s 25 most influential individuals. Invited panelists include Ruth Simmons, President of Brown University and Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski, President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Topics at committee meetings include “The Graying of America” at Human Resources; agriculture biotechnology at Natural Resources, and international trade and the effect of globalization on the states at Economic Development & Commerce.

In addition to the plenaries, committee and task force meetings, the governors will participate in several “Governors-only” sessions scheduled throughout the business agenda. The sessions allow governors to meet by themselves to have candid, semi-private, “off-the-record” discussions to share problems and solutions with their colleagues. This year the sessions will focus on welfare reform and Medicaid, two issues of great importance to governors.

To register for press credentials or to find out more about the meeting, call the NGA Office of Public Affairs at 202/624-5334.

NGA, founded in 1908, is the instrument through which the nation’s governors collectively influence the development and implementation of national policy and apply creative leadership to state issues. Its members are the governors of the 50 states, three territories and two commonwealths.