- Policy Platforms
Join the Western Governors' Association for its 2023 Annual Meeting, hosted by Colorado Governor Jared Polis, in Boulder, Colorado June 26-28.
The three-day event at the legendary Boulder Theatre will feature Western Governors and their special guests in public conversations about the most significant issues facing the region, including geothermal energy use, water, ecosystem restoration, healthcare, and much more.
View the agenda below and register here to reserve a room. Sign-up for WGA's weekly newsletter to receive the latest information about the 2023 Annual Meeting, including speaker announcements, meeting schedules, and gubernatorial attendance.
1:00 p.m.: Welcome and Opening Remarks
1:30 - 2:00 p.m.: Keynote I: The Honorable Michael Regan, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
2:00 - 2:30 p.m.: Keynote II: Ashley Llorens, VP and Distinguished Scientist, Microsoft
Artificial intelligence has reached an inflection point representing a consequential technological advancement across all industries and sectors. An expert on AI and autonomous systems, Ashley Llorens will highlight the vast potential of these technologies, explore the need for guardrails to ensure responsible and safe systems, and discuss how to develop and implement efficient, augmented systems that are both effective and equitable for users.
2:45 - 3:30 p.m.: Roundtable I: The Heat Beneath Our Feet
Deputy Secretary of Energy David Turk will deliver remarks before joining a panel discussion of key takeaways from the initiative of WGA Chair and Colorado Governor Jared Polis, The Heat Beneath Our Feet.
Panelists: Claudio Berti, Director and State Geologist, Idaho Geological Survey; Sarah Jewett, VP of Strategy, Fervo Energy.
3:30 - 4:15 p.m.: Roundtable II: Rural Health Care Access
Many rural and underserved communities across the West lack access to critical health care infrastructure and services, making them more susceptible to poor health and mortality. This panel will explore innovative approaches to providing care in these communities and ensuring the health and wellbeing of all Americans.
Panelists: Brock Slabach, Chief Operations Officer, National Rural Health Association; Gerald Ackerman, Director, Nevada Office of Rural Health and Assistant Dean of Rural Health, University of Nevada School of Medicine; Jenny Niblock, Chief Clinical Officer, Citizens Health.
6:00 - 7:00 p.m.: Opening Reception
9:15 - 9:45 a.m.: Keynote III
9:45 - 10:30 a.m.: Roundtable III: Grasslands for Growers and Greenspace
This panel will discuss the importance of protecting and restoring grassland ecosystems, the benefits of maintaining native seed stocks, and opportunities to strengthen grassland conservation in the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill.
Panelists: Robert Bonnie, Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation, U.S. Department of Agriculture; Blayne Arthur, Secretary, Oklahoma Department of Agriculture; James Cummins, President, Boone and Crockett Club.
10:45 - 11:30 a.m.: Roundtable IV: Resilient Outdoor Recreation Economies
Panelists will discuss how communities in the West are harnessing the outdoor recreation industry to bolster and diversify local economies.
Panelists: Barbara Bynum, Mayor, City of Montrose; Tim Fry, President and CEO, Mountain Racing Products; Elizabeth Sodja, GNAR Coordinator, Utah State University
11:30 a.m - 12:15 p.m.: Roundtable V: Water Data
Basic water data, such as snowpack or weather forecasting, is an essential tool for water managers throughout the West. Boulder, Colorado, has become a hotspot for programs focused on improving forecasting methods, data collection, and dissemination of information throughout the nation. This panel will bring together experts to discuss the current collection of water data, possible improvements, and the effect their work could have on water management in the West.
Panelists: Richard Spinrad, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Everette Joseph, Director, National Center for Atmospheric Research; Yvonne Stone, California Energy, Environment, and Governance Practice Leader, Deloitte.
12:15 - 1:30 p.m.: All attendee lunch
9:15 - 10:00 a.m.: Roundtable VI: AmeriCorps
Michael Smith, CEO of AmeriCorps will lead a discussion with John Kelly, Executive Director of Serve Colorado, on the role of service programs in meeting states’ workforce development goals.
10:00 - 10:30 a.m.: Keynote IV: The Honorable Denis McDonough, Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Veterans have increased rates of homelessness, mental and behavioral health issues, and medical needs from combat service. Secretary McDonough will discuss how states and the federal government can work together to more effectively serve and honor America’s veterans.
10:45 - 11:30 a.m.: Roundtable VII: Western Governors’ Leadership Institute
The leadership forum of the Western Governors’ Foundation is being conducted in conjunction with the 2023 WGA Annual Meeting. This panel features a conversation between select delegates and the Governors regarding the future of leadership in the West.
11:30 - 11:45 a.m.: Governors’ Policy and Business Session
11:45 a.m. - Noon: Closing Remarks