WGA Chair and Hawaii Gov. David Ige hosted his fellow Western Governors and guests Dec. 11-13, 2018, at the WGA 2018 Winter Meeting at the Fairmont Orchid on the Big Island of Hawai'i.

Ten Western Governors joined Gov. Ige, including: WGA Vice Chair Doug Burgum (North Dakota), C.L. "Butch" Otter (Idaho), Steve Bullock (Montana), Brian Sandoval (Nevada), Mary Fallin (Oklahoma), Kate Brown (Oregon), Dennis Daugaard (South Dakota), Gary Herbert (Utah), Matt Mead (Wyoming), and Ralph Torres (Northern Mariana Islands).

Day 1: A stirring keynote by world navigator Nainoa Thompson, an examination of the increasing challenges posed by invasive species (watch the video) and a look at the booming industry of outdoor recreation in Western states highlighted the first day of the Winter Meeting. Read more.

Day 2: Keynotes by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Secretary of Veteran Affairs Robert Wilkie, along with roundable discussions about improved career paths for veterans and renewable energy integration, highlighted the meeting's second day. The Governors also signed an agreement enabling WGA and the Department of Agriculture to collaborate on challenges facing western landscapes. Read more.

Day 3: Lessons learned by outgoing governors during their time in office, how social determinants impact healthcare, and a conversation with Small Business Administration Administrator Linda McMahon were the highlights of the third and final day of the 2018 Winter Meeting. Additionally, four WGA policy resolutions were announced by the governors. Read more.

Memorandum of Understanding: WGA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the meeting to "establish a framework to allow the Forest Service and WGA to work collaboratively to accomplish mutual goals, further common interests, and effectively respond to the increasing suite of challenges facing western landscapes." Read more about the agreement.

Resolutions: Western Governors formally approved four policy resolutions at the meeting. The resolutions covered a variety of issues, including foreign visitor preclearance, cybersecurity, compensatory mitigation and health care in western states. Read the resolutions.

New task force: WGA announced the launch of the Western Governors' Task Force on Collaborative Conservation at the meeting. The state-led effort will develop approaches to conserve at-risk fish and wildlife species, and enable Western Governors to partner with federal agencies, state fish and wildlife leaders and prioritize conservation actions. Learn about the Task Force.

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