Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval was elected Chairman of the Western Governors' Association (WGA) and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber was elected Vice-Chairman on the final day (June 11, 2014) of the 2014 WGA Annual Meeting.
Gov. Sandoval takes the gavel from Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who has served as WGA Chairman for the past year. After the announcement of the vote, the Nevada governor delivered closing remarks on his initiative for the coming year.
"Historically, Governors have led the fight against drought in their states. I expect that to continue," said Gov. Sandoval. "Such executive leadership is the heart of my Chairman’s initiative – the creation of the Western Governors Drought Forum.
"The Forum will support governors’ leadership on drought preparedness and response. We’ve touched on a number of topics during the meeting this week that I hope we can expand upon by leveraging the water, agriculture, and resource experts in our states."
During the course of the coming year, the Forum will work to foster a dialogue about best practices for drought management. Deliverables include:
An analysis, already initiated by Gov. Hickenlooper, of existing state drought plans, common themes and unique approaches;
A series of regional meetings on drought impacts to specific communities, resources or industries;
A report that captures these lessons learned;
Publication of case studies via a best practices digital library;
Codifying the framework so that the Forum lives beyond its initial year.
Gov. Sandoval's remarks brought the three-day Annual Meeting to a close.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Western Governors held their final public policy session on "Managing Inter-related Challenges of Wildfire, ESA and Invasive Species." The Governors discussed how policy responses for inter-related challenges impact each other and must be integrated to address problems holistically.
Check out a slideshow of photos featuring Governors, special guests and Annual Meeting events.