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Weekly Address

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National Governors Association

As Governor, I’m a member of the National Governors Association, which was founded in 1908 to promote bipartisanship. In politics, we call that “reaching across the aisle.” I became chair of the National Governors Association last summer, and in that role, I have seen more clearly than ever that if we are going to overcome big challenges, we must set aside our differences to get things done.

Since the arrival of COVID-19, governors of both parties have worked tirelessly to protect our residents. In 2020, Arkansas agreed to send spare ventilators to our neighbors in Louisiana, whose governor is of the opposite party. 

Governors have communicated regularly to address everything from securing personal protective equipment, to distributing vaccines, to spreading the message that the vaccine is the best way to beat the virus. We’ve shared the best solutions to assist businesses and employees, and to ensure that our children aren’t missing out on their education. Of course, there are many differences, but we must work together for ways to get things done.

We’ve worked together through two radically different White House administrations and in the face of dramatic social upheaval. The volume of our combined voices cuts through the partisan banter to the benefit of all states.

Last February, the NGA sent a letter to President Biden asking him to improve the reporting of vaccination numbers and to give states a voice in allocating vaccines so that we could eliminate waste and improve efficiency.

Last year governors from both parties spoke as one to ask Congress and the Biden administration to help states overcome decades of neglect that have allowed roads, bridges, airports, and other elements of our infrastructure to fall into disrepair nationally.

Our two-party partnership helped persuade Congress to pass bipartisan legislation that the President signed. Now governors are taking steps to ensure that these funds are spent to build state-of-the-art roads and bridges, expand broadband and internet access, repair and replace water systems, and modernize our airports. 

As chair of the NGA, I have the privilege of designating a Chairman’s Initiative. Arkansans won’t be surprised to know that the improvement and expansion of computer science education is my year-long initiative.

This weekend, I am in Washington, D.C., to attend the NGA’s 114th national meeting, where we will continue our conversations about ways to strengthen our economy, schools, workforce, infrastructure, energy independence, and of course, how we can advance computer since education across the country.

Ninety years ago, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said that states are “laboratories of democracy” that produce some of the best solutions to national challenges.

That remains true in 2022. If we are going to triumph as a nation, we don’t have the luxury of picking a solution based on the party that proposed it. 

As we meet the challenges of this year, we must continue to flex our collective muscle to find solutions that aren’t Republican or Democrat but are American. In other words, we must reach across the aisle in Washington and in Arkansas.

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