Western Governors deliver 2018 State of the State addresses

The West

Western Governors have begun delivering their 2018 State of the State addresses. Below is a roundup of the speeches to date, with a schedule of those still to come. The word cloud below, created by WGA, highlights the most common themes used throughout the governors’ addresses. 

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey called on state leaders to come together around common policy goals, including combatting the opioid epidemic, increasing education funding, expanding economic opportunities and securing the state’s water future on January 8, 2018. Emphasizing the theme “Spirit of Service”, Gov. Ducey called for bipartisanship saying, “By working together, with a spirit of service; with integrity, humility – by forgetting about who should get the credit – we can move Arizona forward, and in a way that will make our fellow citizens proud.” Watch the speech and read the transcript.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper touted the Centennial State’s strong economic recovery over the past seven years during his final State of the State address on January 11. The Denver Post reported “He praised the bipartisan successes of a year ago on issues ranging from hospital funding to construction defects reform” and called it “the “most impactful, bipartisan legislative session since the Great Recession.” (Story). Gov. Hickenlooper also addressed healthcare, expanding rural development programs, education and increasing workforce opportunities saying, “We need to transition from a degree-based education system to skills-based training.” Watch the speech, and read the transcript.

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter identified healthcare and ensuring that employers have enough educated and skilled workers to meet the needs of the state’s growing economy among the Idaho’s top priorities on January 8. “Because of the work we have done over more than a decade, we have never been readier for the challenges and opportunities ahead,” Governor Otter told the Idaho Legislature, other State leaders and a statewide audience during his 12th and final State of the State and Budget Address at the Idaho Capitol. Read the transcript. 

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback delivered remarks on January 9 focused on education as a top priority, saying, “I dream that education in the state is tailored to each student’s needs and desires. So that that student has the maximum chance to succeed. That we have more educational options for each K-12 student like we do now for higher education students.” Gov. Brownback also presented bold five-year goals of achieving a 95% statewide graduation rate, and subsequently, that 75% of students go on to pursue some form of higher education or military service. Read the transcript.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts delivered his fourth State of the State address on January 10 with an emphasis on job growth. The Governor, recognizing the impact of high business friendliness rankings by Forbes and Chief Executive Magazine, said: “Folks, this matters because when companies move here and invest, they create job opportunities for our people.” Additional emphasis was placed on balancing the state’s budget, which will include targeted funding for K-12 education, corrections, and services for the developmentally disabled. Read the transcript.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez praised the state’s educational reforms in her address delivered on delivered on  January 16, noting “our graduation rate remains at an all-time high of 71 percent.”  Gov. Martinez still called for continued improvement, saying: “We need to fund reforms that are getting results. That means expanding our teacher and principal mentoring programs, anti-truancy efforts, and early reading interventions.” Creating a more business-friendly environment, reducing crime, infrastructure projects and balancing the state budget were also prominent themes. The Governor concluded her final State of the State by saying “may we work together, tirelessly, to leave behind a diverse and growing economy, a quality education system, and a safe community for every New Mexico child.” Read the transcript.

WGA Chair South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard began his final State of the State address on January 9 with an overview of the Western Governors’ Workforce Development Initiative. On the topic of education and workforce readiness, Gov. Daugaard said “We need to change the notion that apprenticeships are confined to the construction trades.” Encouraging job shadowing and work-based learning in high-demand fields such as cybersecurity, Gov. Daugaard emphasized the impact of dual-credit and apprenticeship programs in South Dakota, and opportunities to continue to grow the state’s workforce. Watch the speech and read the transcript. 

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee highlighted the state’s business climate in his speech delivered on January 9 saying, “our economy is strong, our future is bright, but there are always new heights to reach, new challenges to overcome and persistent wrongs to right.” Funding school construction, housing and mental health services and expanding youth apprenticeship opportunities were among the issues that will take center stage in Washington’s coming legislative session. Read the transcript.  


Alaska Gov. Walker will deliver remarks on January 18.

California Gov. Jerry Brown will deliver remarks via livestream on January 25 at 10 a.m.

WGA Vice Chair Hawaii Gov. David Ige will deliver remarks on January 22.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts will deliver remarks on January 10 at 2:30 p.m.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum will deliver remarks on January 23 at 10 a.m.  

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin will deliver remarks on February 5.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown will deliver remarks on February 5 at 9:30 a.m.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert will deliver remarks on January 24.

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead will deliver remarks on February 12.

No Remarks

State of the State addresses in Montana, Nevada and Texas are delivered only when the legislature is in session. As the states do not have a regular session in 2018, there will be no address.  

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