Executive Director’s Notebook: Governors lead the battle on front lines of coronavirus pandemic

By Jim Ogsbury

The New York Times recently published a story under the headline, "Once Political B-Listers, Governors Lead Nation’s Coronavirus Response" (Read it). The article states, “(F)or now, the country is turning to governors, some of them little known on the national scene, for reassurance and leadership in a fashion that sharply breaks from the Washington-centric lens through which government has been viewed in a period of national and celebrity-oriented politics.”

Although I would vigorously dispute the notion that our Governors have ever been “political B-listers,” there is no doubt that they are the ones on the front lines battling the coronavirus pandemic. They are making difficult decisions daily about: testing protocols and priorities; housing, treatment, quarantine and care of COVID-19 patients; limitations on gatherings, suspension of commercial activities, and closures of restaurants, theaters and other enterprises. They are exercising the full scope of their authority to limit the spread of the virus, while simultaneously taking action to keep critical supply chains functioning, health care operating, and food supplies available.

WGA is committing the full measure of its resources to assist Western Governors in this time of crisis and challenge. In particular, WGA is supporting the Governors’ efforts through research on: state housing of non-resident COVID-19 patients; resources available to states under federal stimulus legislation; rapid response plans for rural outbreak clusters; assistance for affected individuals, industries and small business; production and distribution of COVID-19 testing supplies; treatment of essential critical infrastructure workers; and the coordination of COVID-19 response by federal, state and local authorities.

I don’t know when I’ve been prouder to work for Western Governors, who have inspired me with their decisive action, strategic deployment of resources, and laser-like focus on the health and well-being of their constituents. Governors, a grateful region and nation salute you. 

 Jim Ogsbury is the Executive Director of the Western Governors' Association. Contact him at 303-623-9378 or send an email. Get the latest news about the West and its governors by following the Western Governors' Association on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

The Latest on the Western Governors’ COVID-19 Response

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