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April 9, 2015 – National Governors Association

NGA Releases 2015 Summary of Governors’ Annual State of the State Addresses

WASHINGTON—In their annual State of the State addresses, governors emphasized the importance of workforce and transportation investment, along with support for education funding and continued economic growth, according to a paper released today by the National Governors Association (NGA). Governors also focused on increasing transparency and efficiency of state government functions, addressing prescription drug abuse and reforming criminal justice systems.

The Governors Speak, 2015 summarizes the common themes of governors’ addresses and highlights their priorities for the coming year.

Most governors used the address to set budgetary priorities for the year, pointing to balanced budgets and financial improvements. Related to those improvements, many spoke of making government run more efficiently, cutting red tape and increasing transparency. That concept is echoed in NGA Chair Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s initiative, Delivering Results.

“Governors across the country are committed to ensuring government works in the best way possible to give the people in our states the best bang for their buck,” said Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, NGA vice chair and chair of the NGA Center for Best Practices board.

The following analysis summarizes the major topics addressed in the 2014 State of the State addresses, given by governors in 49 states and territories:

  • Education. Every governor emphasized the importance of a quality education to their state’s economic future. Specifically, governors focused on early learning and K-12 education, college affordability and career technical education;
  • Economic, Human Services and Workforce. Forty-eight governors addressed workforce and economic growth issues, with an emphasis on job training, international trade and manufacturing;
  • Health. Health care was mentioned in 44 speeches, including Medicaid expansion, mental and behavioral health and prescription drug abuse;
  • Energy, Environment and Transportation were mentioned in 30 addresses—29 dealt with environmental protection and 39 supported transportation investment and infrastructure improvements;
  • Homeland Security and Public Safety. Thirty-eight governors spoke about public safety, with many covering the need for criminal justice reform. Homeland security and veterans’ needs also were important topics; and
  • State Finances and Efficient Government. Governors in 12 states emphasized the need to bolster their state’s rainy day fund. Governors also mentioned tax changes and promoted existing or potential tax reductions. Twenty-four governors spoke of making government run more efficiently.

For more information, please visit The Governors Speak, 2015 or www.nga.org.


The information above is for general awareness only and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Office of Economic Adjustment or the Department of Defense as a whole.

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