WGA Annual Meeting: Transportation, Leavitt keynote, new chairman election fill Day 2

Western Governors approved five policy resolutions, heard a keynote address by Michael Leavitt, engaged with transportation experts on pressing regional issues, and elected the incoming WGA Chairman during day two of the 2015 Annual Meeting in Incline Village, Nev.

After the morning sessions were completed at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe, the meeting moved to nearby Sand Harbor State Park for a discussion of how collaboration between California and Nevada has helped preserve and protect Lake Tahoe and the surrounding environment.

Keynote address by Michael O. Leavitt

The former three-term Governor of Utah and Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offered an engaging keynote that included his memories of being a governor as well as an overview of the changing healthcare landscape.

  • "Between now and 10 years from now we are likely to see Medicaid expand to cover about one third of the population."
  • "I believe it's crucial that you as governors be reminded how much influence you have over issues in healthcare."
Improving Western Transportation Networks
  • Gov. Gary Herbert: "If regulation could be modified and streamlined, there could be up to a 25% savings in the road projects we are building today. I'd like to see a movement to push on the federal government to improve the process and remove some of the red tape. We will build better roads, for less money."
  • Pat Thomas, Chairman, American Trucking Association: “We have in the neighborhood of 7 million people involved in our business; 1 in 16 workers in America is connected to the trucking business.”
  • Steve Hill, Director, NV Governor's Office of Economic Development: "We think that it is important that the West be on the cutting edge of autonomous vehicle development as a tool to grow the economy in general, and as a tool for economic development."
Governors' Policy Roundtable and Business Session

During the business session the Governors elected Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead as the incoming WGA Chairman and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock was chosen as WGA Vice Chairman. In addition, the Governors approved five policy resolutions on topics as varied as enhanced oil recovery and water resource management.


The day's activities concluded with a short trip south to Sand Harbor State Park, where the topic was the collaborative effort by California and Nevada to preserve and protect Lake Tahoe. Speakers included Gov. Sandoval; John Laird, California Secretary for Natural Resources; Joanne Marchetta, Executive Director of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, and Pete Sonntag, Chief Operating Officer of Heavenly Mountain Resort.

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