- Policy Platforms
Pollster Frank Luntz engaged both the Governors and the audience during his remarks.
Western Governors heard passionate advice from pollster Frank Luntz about how to bridge the country's partisan divide, witnessed the relaunch of the reconstituted Western Governors’ Foundation, and learned about the growing fentanyl crisis in Canada on Day Two of the 2019 Annual Meeting.
Twelve Western Governors are attending the three-day meeting in Vail, Colorado: WGA Chair David Ige (Hawai’i), WGA Vice Chair Doug Burgum (North Dakota), Jared Polis (Colorado), Lourdes Leon Guerrero (Guam), Brad Little (Idaho), Laura Kelly (Kansas), Steve Sisolak (Nevada), Michelle Lujan Grisham (New Mexico), Kate Brown (Oregon), Kristi Noem (South Dakota), Gary Herbert (Utah) and Mark Gordon (Wyoming).
Here's a look at the day's highlights.
Western Governors’ Foundation Kickoff
WGA Executive Director Jim Ogsbury announced the relaunch of the Western Governors’ Foundation. Ogsbury explained that the reimagined Foundation will leverage Western Governors’ influence to raise and deploy resources that collectively impact issues of regional importance. Former South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who will be on the Foundation’s Board of Directors, said the foundation “can become an arm of the association that even more effectively helps an association that’s already very effective.” Read more.
Keynote: Frank Luntz
The influential pollster, introduced by South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, delivered an impactful, often entertaining presentation on the partisan divide in our country and on the most effective language for the Governors to use in an attempt to better connect with their state's citizens. Highlights from the presentation:
Roundtable: Utilizing Data and Forecasting in Western Water Management
Idaho Gov. Brad Little moderated this roundtable, where panelists discussed practical applications of data collection and analysis in western water management, such as snowpack assessment and drought preparedness. Highlights of the session included.
Jay Jasperse, Sonoma Water: “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers mandate is to release water in a flood pool as quickly and efficiently as possible. But in the current era with more frequent droughts, it is better for the people to hold on to that water to get through the drought season. It is important to update those management actions to be more proactive by looking at the water in the sky and preparing to manage it when it hits the ground.”
Lynn Budd, Wyoming Office of Homeland Security: “We utilize the data that my cohorts here put together. We start our monitoring in October to see what we may have coming to us in the spring. In the winter and early spring, we have to watch flooding from snow jams and start our flood response planning ... We take the data collected in previous years where we know we’ve had flooding to look for specific flooding trends at certain times of the year.”
Forrest Melton, NASA Western Water Applications Office: “NASA is known for our advancement of technology to explore space, but we also use our technology to explore Earth and collect data on resources, especially water in the West ... We have to collect data and translate it into actionable information for public understanding.”
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sergeant Eric Boechler
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sergeant Eric Boechler, introduced by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, discussed the alarming increase in illicit fentanyl imports to Vancouver and some of the steps the RCMP is taking to stem the tide. Highlights included:
The 2019 Annual Meeting concludes on Wednesday. The final day begins at 9:15 a.m. with a keynote and case study on the creation and ongoing work of Western Governors University. The agenda also includes a keynote by U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, and a session with new Western Governors.