WGA 2019 Annual Meeting Recap: Keynotes, public discussions examine biggest Western issues; new Chair Initiative launched

The Western Governors’ Association 2019 Annual Meeting this week brought 12 Governors to Colorado for three days of public discussion about significant policy issues facing the region and nation. Attending governors included, from left, Doug Burgum (North Dakota), Laura Kelly (Kansas), Kristi Noem (South Dakota), David Ige (Hawai’i), Brad Little (Idaho), Lou Leon Guerrero (Guam), Jared Polis (Colorado), Gary Herbert (Utah), Steve Sisolak (Nevada), Kate Brown (Oregon), and Mark Gordon (Wyoming). Not pictured, but in attendance, Michelle Lujan Grisham (New Mexico).

DAY ONE: Western Governors had an in-depth conversation with Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, released a report on the Biosecurity and Invasive Species Initiative, heard from Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz, and announced an agreement with the USDA to pursue collaborative land management projects. Read the Day 1 report.

DAY TWO: The reconstituted Western Governors’ Foundation was launched, pollster Frank Luntz shared “words that work,” water managers discussed data collection, and Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sergeant Eric Boechler presented on the alarming growth of illicit fentanyl in Canada. Read the Day 2 report.

DAY THREE: The Governors revisited the role of WGA in the creation of online education pioneer Western Governors University and heard newly elected Western Governors share the story behind their path to office. Gov. Doug Burgum, elected Chair by the Governors (pictured above), shared the central policy initiative he will pursue in the year ahead. Read the Day 3 Report.

RESOLUTIONS: Western Governors formally approved policy resolutions on: Federal-State Land Exchanges and Purchases, Biosecurity and Invasive Species Management, National Parks, and Wildlife Migration Corridors. Read, download resolutions.


REPORTS: The Governors released their Annual Report, which details their extensive policy work over the past year on issues that include water, land management economic development, air quality, and realigning the state-federal relationship.

The Governors also published a special report on the Biosecurity and Invasive Species Initiative, the Chairman’s Initiative of Gov. David Ige. You may also watch a video that highlights the five recommendations included in the report. Watch now.

Reimagining the Rural West Initiative

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, 2020 WGA Chair, has announced Reimagining the Rural West will be his Chairman’s Initiative. The Initiative will examine challenges and opportunities in rural economic development, infrastructure and quality of life, identify best practices, and recommend policies to support vibrant rural communities in the West. Learn More.

Celebrate the West art competition winners

WGA is pleased to announce the winners in the fourth annual Celebrate the West art competition, which challenges high school students to create artwork inspired by their state. This year’s competition attracted more than 450 works from the 19 WGA member states, as well as Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. We have all the state winners on the WGA website. See slideshow



The Western Governors’ Association represents the Governors of 19 Western states and 3 U.S.-

Pacific territories. The association is an instrument of the Governors for bipartisan policy development, information exchange and collective action on issues of critical importance to the Western U.S. Follow the Western Governors’ Association on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. 

By Tucker Allmer - The BARN

Tucker Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.

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