Western Governors deliver 2019 State of the State addresses

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Western Governors have delivered their annual State of the State addresses. Below is a roundup of the speeches delivered so far, including inaugural addresses from newly-elected Western Governors. Above is a word cloud developed using the most common themes mentioned in the addresses.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy responded to budget constraints and criminal justice issues in his first State of the State address on Jan. 22. The Governor also reiterated his commitment to campaign themes, including job creation and government transparency. “I’ve said that we’re going to make Alaska ‘open for business’ – and that’s exactly what we’re going to do,” said Gov. Dunleavy. “For Alaska to fully realize our potential, including our location on the globe, our vast resources, and unbridled quality of life, we must look to other industries and investments to come to Alaska.” Watch the address and read the transcript. Read about Gov. Dunleavy’s Dec. 3 inauguration.

American Samoa Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga targeted economic development during his Jan. 15 State of the Territory address. He noted that beginning in 2017, the government ended a pattern of maintaining a negative general fund balance. "We are confident that the implemented corrections to our financial systems, along with our resolve to confine spending to actual revenue collections, will assure the continuation of this favorable progression in our efforts to stabilize the government’s financial operation and rebuilding our government’s financial integrity and credibility,” said the governor. Read about the address.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey identified water security as a top priority during his Jan. 15 State of the State address. “The issues we need to tackle aren’t partisan ones. In some cases, they aren’t even political. At the top of that list: securing our water future,” said Gov. Ducey. “It’s an issue that deserves your focus and attention. Which is why it’s first on my list.” He also addressed education and teacher pay raises, and expanding economic opportunity. “Arizona’s economy is booming. There’s no doubt about it. We’ve added nearly 300,000 new jobs in the last four years,” said Gov. Ducey. Read the transcript and watch the address. Watch Gov. Ducey’s Jan. 8 inaugural address.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom emphasized protection for vulnerable residents, addressed border security concerns, and proposed alternative transportation options during his first State of the State address on Feb. 12. He also highlighted government transparency, water challenges, affordable housing, wildfires, education and more. “Yes, we have so much left to do,” said Gov. Newsom before a joint session of the California Legislature. “But I believe in the remarkable talent assembled here. I believe in our state. And I know that the best is yet to come.” Read the transcript. Read Gov. Newsom’s Jan. 7 inaugural address.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis outlined ambitious plans on Jan. 10 regarding education, energy, health care and infrastructure during his first State of the State address. He also announced his plan for free, full-day kindergarten across the state as a top priority in the 2019 session. “Making full-day kindergarten available and accessible for all children sets kids up to be more successful in school and throughout their lives,” he said. Gov. Polis also highlighted the tremendous economic impact of the state’s outdoor recreation and agriculture sectors. Read the transcript and watch the address and Read Gov. Polis’ Jan. 8 inaugural address.

Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero revisited her campaign promise to deliver “a fair, safe, prosperous and compassionate community” to the people of Guam during her first State of the Island address on Jan. 29, 2019. She also addressed visa exemptions related to workforce development, hiring additional corrections officers, military construction, port development, and Opportunity Zones. “In our first 23 days, [Lieutenant Gov. Josh Tenorio] and I have put together a smart, efficient team of people who are dealing with the realities our government is facing," said Gov. Leon Guerrero. Read the transcript.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige looked to the future during his State of the State address on Jan. 22. Improving early childhood education, increasing affordable housing, leveraging technology, confronting homelessness and meeting sustainability goals were highlighted. “More than ever, we need to take control and shape our own destiny through education and innovation,” said Gov. Ige. “And we need to protect those things which mean the most to us—our natural resources, our way of life, our values, and our children’s future.” Read the transcript. Read Gov. Ige’s Dec. 3 inaugural address.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little delivered his State of the State on Jan. 7, focusing on the state’s growing population, education and economy. He announced the launch of Our Kids, Idaho’s Future, a task force that will investigate the education system and provide a five-year blueprint for education investment and reform. He also highlighted the newly developed “shared stewardship” approach developed in partnership with the USDA, saying “Idaho is leading the country in our fresh, collaborative approach to land management.” Read the transcript and read Gov. Little’s Jan. 4 inaugural address.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly encouraged legislators and residents to work together across the aisle to strengthen the economy, reinvest in schools, improve the foster care system and expand health care coverage during her first State of the State address on Jan. 16. “No one person – not even the governor – can act alone to achieve consensus. That’s the whole point… working together,” said Gov. Kelly. “And in that spirit, I’ll promise you this: I will do everything in my power to set the right tone. I will listen every day to leaders from both parties and to the people of this state.” Read the transcript. Read Gov. Kelly’s Jan. 14 inaugural address.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock touted the state’s economic growth, low unemployment numbers, improved education systems and efforts to reduce child hunger in his State of the State address on Jan. 31. “Montana has extraordinary economic strengths. The fabric of our communities - our schools, our families, our outdoors, our Main Streets - contribute to our unparalleled quality of life,” said Gov. Bullock. He also challenged lawmakers to address infrastructure issues, and proposed a $290 million investment to improve water, sewer, solid waste disposal, bridges and broadband. “By working together, by following the course we’ve set, we’ll ensure that the Montana our kids and grandkids inherit is stronger than ever before.” Read the transcript.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak promoted economic development, career and technical education, improving veterans’ affairs, energy and more in his first State of the State address on Jan. 16. Focusing on apprenticeships and job training programs, he announced increased funding for education. “I know that when every Nevadan has the opportunity to succeed, the state will reap the benefit,” said Gov. Sisolak in his closing remarks. “That will be my mission as your governor and the chance to see it through will be the honor of my lifetime.” Read the transcript.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham urged New Mexico residents and legislators to prioritize education on Jan. 15 during her first State of the State address. “We are going to deliver a moonshot for public education in the state of New Mexico: A half billion dollars for our classrooms, new money, put to its best possible use, right now,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. Public safety, health care and economic development were also emphasized. “I firmly believe what we accomplish in these sixty days will set the course for a transformed state, a stronger and better state, not just in these next four years but for decades, generations to come,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said in her remarks. Read the transcript and read Gov. Lujan Grisham’s Jan. 1 inaugural address.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum highlighted the state’s robust economy, high quality of life, and strong workforce during his Jan. 3 State of the State address. He touted progress made on the administration’s five strategic initiatives – transforming education, tribal partnerships, reinventing government, behavioral health and addiction, and the Main Street Initiative. “Our state is ready to go to the next level because of the tremendous progress made in the last two years,” said Gov. Burgum. “Our forward-looking agenda is focused on solving our workforce challenges, increasing accountability and budget transparency, investing in our people and investing in our future.” Read the transcript.

Northern Mariana Islands Gov. Ralph Torres praised the resiliency of the territory’s residents following the devastation of Super Typhoon Yutu during his inaugural speech on Jan. 14.  "In the peaceful times of my childhood, in the difficult days of today, our people are stronger than any storm. We are Marianas Strong," said Gov. Torres. "This Inauguration Day is in some ways a symbol of a new beginning. I hope we will all welcome a fresh start, a new approach, even as we face problems that are familiar. Today begins an opportunity to improve our government and improve our commonwealth. We all have a chance to rebuild. In guiding this administration, I pledge to keep the values we share as a community." Read about the inauguration.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt delivered his plan for boosting educators’ pay and benefits during his first State of the State address on Feb. 4. He also outlined his vision to make Oklahoma a “Top Ten” state, and focused on attracting new residents saying, “We will reimagine our economy by diversifying our marketplace, strengthening our workforce, and encouraging Oklahomans to start new businesses. Our rules must be clear, our regulations must make sense, and our tax code must remain competitive with our neighbors.” Read the transcript. Read Gov. Stitt’s Jan. 14 inaugural address.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown concentrated on health care, housing, environmental protection and children during her Jan. 14 address. Prompted by the demand for affordable housing for chronically homeless people, she unveiled an ambitious $400 million plan for housing. Gov. Brown also focused on the need to improve education and career training. “We need to make sure that every single one of our students is Future Ready,” she said. “The good news is, our current strong economy gives us the best chance in a generation to address persistent, structural challenges in our education system.” Read the transcript.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem cited government transparency, fiscal responsibility, increasing rural broadband access, boosting the economy, promoting better education and the workforce as top priorities on Jan. 7 during her first State of the State address. “We must close the broadband gap to ensure people have the opportunity to work and hire locally and sell globally,” said Gov. Noem. “By pairing quality of life, education targeted at in-demand fields, and fast, reliable broadband, I believe our geographic location can actually be an advantage.” Read the transcript.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert addressed education, tax reform, air quality and sustainable growth during his Jan. 30 State of the State address. “I believe, and the people of Utah believe, and I know that you also believe that there is no better investment that we can make than in our Utah students,” said Gov. Herbert. “That’s why we set an ambitious five-year goal to invest an additional $1 billion in new ongoing revenue into public education.” He also paid tribute to the workers of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad at Promontory Summit in Utah, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. Read the transcript.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee urged state leaders to act on climate change, education, mental health, orcas and more on Jan. 15 during his State of the State address. The theme of the speech, Washington’s Unwritten Chapter, focused on continuing innovation. “We are constantly refreshed with new ideas, new cultures, new communities and new technologies. We seek out new talent from the world’s many pockets because that makes Washington stronger,” said Gov. Inslee. “I believe our next Washington chapter must show that we pushed the limit and moved beyond our plateau, that we always looked for the next beginning.” Read the transcript.

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon defined his administration’s priorities for economic development, fiscal responsibility, energy, and improving quality of life on Jan. 9 during his first State of the State address. “I believe the best decisions are made closest to where the impact of those decisions is felt. It is also at the local level where individuals and entrepreneurs can spur new businesses that align with a community’s values and assets,” said Gov. Gordon. “I hope to move forward with improving the tools required for cities, towns and counties to prosper.Watch the State of the State address and read the transcript. Read Gov. Gordon’s Jan. 7 inaugural address.

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