Click here to read the report. Here’s an excerpt:
It’s with great pleasure that I share with you the Western Governors’ Association Annual Report. I’m pleased with the many accomplishments we’ve shared together and am especially gratified by the steadfast commitment of my colleagues and our many partners to relentlessly pursue pragmatic and bipartisan policy through our work together. Although we approach our challenges from various locations on the political spectrum, as citizens of the West, we continue to find that we are more closely tied by our similarities than our differences.
While there are, no doubt, many shared experiences and perspectives that allow us to communicate and to compromise across our divides, it is often our landscapes and our western work ethic that together serve as our foundation for tackling some of our region’s and our nation’s most pressing challenges. When I assumed the chair of WGA, I launched the National Forest and Rangeland Management Initiative to put to work some of our shared strengths in service of our western landscapes and their dire need for restoration. Today our wild re seasons are longer, more expensive, and present increasing risks to the public and fire ghters. Our forests and rangelands face unprecedented threats from insects, disease and invasive species. At risk is our quality of life, our clean air and water, and the fabric of many of our local western economies.
Through the initiative, we’ve convened hundreds of partners through four Western Governor-led workshops, webinars, and other outreach to identify innovative best practices and highlight solutions. Across the West the message we heard was clear: we are making progress and bucking the trends by dedicating ourselves to collaboration and partnership. (Learn more about the Initiative in this Annual Report.)
Western Governors’ bipartisan policy efforts in the past year also included:
• Cross-cutting policy reform efforts aimed at strengthening the state and federal relationship, garnering the support for shared principles for state engagement in federal policy development with associations such as the Conference of Western Attorneys General, Council of State Governments West, Western Interstate Region of the National Association of Counties, and the Paci c NorthWest Economic Region.
• Direct outreach to engage the new administration on emerging priorities through our annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Joining me were Governors Kate Brown, Doug Burgum, Dennis Daugaard, Mary Fallin, Gary Herbert, John Hickenlooper, David Ige, Matt Mead, Butch Otter, Brian Sandoval and Bill Walker.
• Significant stakeholder engagement to identify and re ne a series of policy proposals to adopt best practices in species management and improve the ef ciency of the Endangered Species Act through year two of the Western Governors’ Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative, launched in 2015 by then WGA Chairman, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead.
And those are just a few of the many accomplishments championed by Western Governors over the past year. It’s been an honor to support our efforts, and I thank my fellow Western Governors and the WGA staff for their support.
Steve Bullock, Montana Governor