Augusta, ME (STL.News) Governor Janet Mills returned home to Maine yesterday after participating in the National Governors Association’s (NGA) Annual Winter Meeting. The Winter Meeting, which was the first time in more than two years that the nation’s governors convened in person, offered a forum to meet with Federal leaders, to discuss issues governors are confronting in their state, and to share best practices and innovative solutions.
As part of the meeting, Governor Mills on Monday attended the Governor’s Business Session at the White House with President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Cabinet officials. During the meeting, the Governors and the President discussed several issues, including:
efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, including Federal support for states to maintain the capacity of health care systems during the Omicron surge and, with the increased prevalence of at home-testing, the utility of case counts as a metric of the severity of the pandemic;
economic recovery efforts, including use of American Rescue Plan funding by states to increase competitiveness and address systemic issues to improve the economy, as well as the impact of inflation on economic recovery;
the importance of ensuring that schools remain open and students remain in the classroom; and
the implementation of the bipartisan infrastructure law, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and the importance of Federal flexibility in use of the funding.
Governor Mills also met with the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Dr. Rahul Gupta, to discuss Maine’s ongoing opioid epidemic, which has worsened during the pandemic. During the meeting, she shared with Dr. Gupta’ Maine’s approach to distributing naloxone to save lives, the State’s work to prevent substance use disorder, and efforts to improve the availability and accessibility of harm reduction and recovery programs.
“I appreciated having the opportunity to meet with the President, Cabinet officials, and fellow governors to talk about a wide range of important issues, like the pandemic, economic recovery, workforce, education, infrastructure, the opioid epidemic and more,” said Governor Janet Mills. “From the President to my fellow governors, there was consensus that we all want to move America and our states forward to achieve a much-needed sense of stability and normalcy for our citizens. To that end, my focus, like that of many other governors, remains on ensuring that Maine people can stay healthy, that kids can stay in school, that parents can go back to work, and that we can help Maine people deal with some of the overarching issues caused by the pandemic, like higher prices of everyday items. I will continue to work with the Federal government and the Maine Legislature to address these crucial issues.”
At the meeting, Governor Mills also formally invited her fellow Governors to attend the 2022 NGA Summer Meeting, which will be held in Portland, Maine in July 2022.
“I am excited to welcome the nation’s governors to Maine for the 2022 NGA Summer Meeting,” continued Governor Mills. “There is no better place than Maine, especially during the summer, and I look forward to showcasing our state and our people for my fellow governors and the rest of the nation.”
During the meeting, Governor Mills participated in plenary sessions, including:
A plenary session on the importance of strong K-12 science education, a focus of NGA Chair and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchison.
A conversation with the CEOs of Best Buy, Accenture, and Land O’ Lakes moderated by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo about the link between increased student digital literacy and a stronger workforce.
A discussion on the implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.
A meeting of the NGA’s Economic Recovery and Revitalization Task Force, of which Governor Mills is a member, focused on public policy to advance the adoption of electric vehicles using funds through IIJA.
Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association (NGA) is the voice of the nation’s governors. A strictly nonpartisan organization, NGA facilitates the convening of governors from across America with peers and policy experts at local, state, federal and international levels. Maine rejoined the National Governors Association when Governor Mills took office.