MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN—Governors joined together in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, today to kick off the National Governors Association’s (NGA) 105th Summer Meeting. NGA Chair Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, Vice Chair Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, Host Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and members of the NGA Executive Committee welcomed a bipartisan group of their colleagues for three days of meetings.

“These meetings are an opportunity to share experiences and discuss critical issues facing our states,” said Gov. Walker. “While Washington is gridlocked most days, states are not. Governors are focused on finding solutions to our most pressing challenges. I’m thrilled that my colleagues chose Wisconsin to host this meeting.”

The meeting will highlight Gov. Markell’s Chair’s Initiative, A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities, which focuses on the employment challenges that affect individuals with intellectual and other significant disabilities. “My initiative was designed to raise awareness about how the untapped talents of people with disabilities can contribute to a business’s bottom line,” Gov. Markell noted.

A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities looks at ways both state government and businesses can partner to bring opportunities to individuals with disabilities in the competitive labor market,” said Gov. Markell. “We’re making strides on this front, but the work is far from over. I look forward to the discussions we’ll be having on this topic this weekend.”

As part of his initiative, Gov. Markell will release A Blueprint for Governors later today. This document was created from the numerous events and meetings that were held over the past year. This blueprint is full of concrete and practical things that governors can do to advance employment opportunities for people with disabilities in their states.

Gov. Markell also highlighted the priorities governors have identified through NGA, including the evolving health care changes in states, flexibility of the Workforce Investment Act’s 15 percent set-aside, full use of the National Guard’s cost-effectiveness, addressing the nation’s water infrastructure needs and comprehensive federal tax reform.

Gov. Fallin reiterated the importance of bringing governors together to look for solutions to common challenges.

“This weekend is about bringing governors together to engage in a dialogue about important issues affecting our states,” said Gov. Fallin. “Since we face many similar challenges, NGA meetings give us an opportunity to learn a from each other’s experiences.”

Highlights of the meeting include: 

  • A session with Dr. Jeffrey Brenner, founder and executive director of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, who will talk about state tools for health care cost containment;
  • Meetings of the Education and Workforce Committee and the Health & Homeland Security Committee;
  • A joint meeting of the Economic Development and Commerce Committee and the Natural Resources Committee to discuss the state of America’s infrastructure with the Honorable Anthony Foxx, secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Honorable Bill Shuster, chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure;
  • A session on advancing corrections reform; and
  • A session on cybersecurity with Matt Devost, president and CEO of Terrorism Research Center, Inc. and adjunct professor at Georgetown University.

Throughout the meeting, governors will attend “governors-only” sessions, which provide an opportunity to discuss issues states are facing in a private, off-the-record setting. The Summer Meeting will conclude with a welcome to incoming NGA Chair Gov. Fallin and the incoming vice chair, who will be announced on Sunday. In addition, Gov. Fallin will unveil her 2013-2014 Chair’s Initiative.

For up-to-date coverage of the 2013 Summer Meeting, follow NGA on Twitter @NatlGovsAssoc and like NGA on Facebook.

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