What We're Thinking

February 11, 2020

Ryan Dalton

Senior Director of State Affairs
BGR Government Relations

Three New Democratic Governors Who are Making Moves

This summer, three impressive new Democratic Governors were appointed to the National Governors Association (NGA) Executive Committee. Businesses looking to impact policy or craft legislative strategies for the year ahead would be smart to start their relationship building. 

Last month, at the National Governors Association Summer Meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, Governor Andrew Cuomo (NY) assumed the role of NGA Vice-Chair, ahead of his appointment to NGA Chair in Summer 2020.  His first act in NGA leadership was to appoint three new Democratic Governors to the NGA Executive Committee, which supervises the association’s operations and policies around federalism, federal spending, and federal tax policy.  His selections: New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, Colorado Governor Jared Polis, and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.  

All three are new Governors with bold ideas to enhance their states—and, like Governor Cuomo, have proven they are eager to get things done rather than wait around for Washington, DC to deliver the change their constituents want. For example:

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has already signed energy legislation requiring New Mexico’s major electric utilities to get 100 percent of their power from carbon emission-free sources by 2045.  While Washington, DC has gone into reverse on the Paris Climate Accord and other environmental protections, Governor Lujan Grisham found a path to passing legislation supported by industry, environmentalists, and other key stakeholders.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis recently enacted two pieces of legislation aimed at reducing the cost of healthcare. He created a healthcare reinsurance program to reduce premiums for the 251,000 buying health insurance on state exchanges. And he enacted legislation that will lower the cost of prescription drugs by allowing them to be imported from Canada.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who was famously elected on a promise to “fix the damn roads,” has proposed a fully paid for $2.5 billion infrastructure plan that she is fighting to get across the finish line this fall in the GOP held legislature. In the absence of any major federal infrastructure proposal, Governor Whitmer is looking for what should be a bipartisan opportunity to get key projects funded in her home state with all the associated economic development potential. 

Outside the beltway, state leaders like these three incoming Governors are focused on strategies to deliver results and pushing priorities that their constituents demanded in the 2018 elections. They have thus far been willing and eager to work across coalitions and in a bipartisan fashion to get things done, and may offer companies and organizations opportunity to advance shared priorities that have stalled out in Washington.

September 2019


Tagged: state, local, elections,

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