Analysis of State-of-the-State Addresses Reveals Governors’ Top Priorities
Increasing American innovation, improving education, expanding health care coverage, and ensuring clean, reliable energy were top priorities outlined by the nation’s governors in their 2007 State-of-the-State Addresses, according to the National Governors Association (NGA).
The Governors Speak–2007 summarizes the initiatives and calls to action the nation’s governors launched during their annual addresses to their states. The report demonstrates where the chief executives of the states believe their leadership is most needed and articulates how they intend to accomplish their goals.
Thanks to improved economic conditions throughout the states, governors collectively espoused an optimistic tone for the future, calling for some of boldest initiatives in years. Governors across the country are seeking to strengthen their economies and improve their residents’ livelihoods by providing new investments and incentives to develop a more highly education citizenry, create higher-paying jobs, support knowledge-based industries, and build an innovation-based economy.
“Governors are charting a path forward on some of the toughest public policy challenges of our time,” says John Thomasian, Director of the NGA Center for Best Practices. “They’re challenging conventional thinking and tackling these issues head on with unique, bold initiatives.”
The report quantifies and categorizes the various initiatives the governors launched on various public policy issues. Examples from the report include:
–Every governor outlined plans to improve education, with almost half (41 percent) calling for greater focus in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education;
–94 percent discussed health care challenges facing their state, with three-quarters focusing on expanding health coverage, up from only 35 percent in 2005;
–92 percent highlighted policies on the environment, energy, and natural resources, with a third specifically mentioning climate change and efforts to reduce global warming; and
–More than half (53 percent) outlined priorities for homeland security, including disaster preparedness.