ANNAPOLIS, MD—On Wednesday, Governor Larry Hogan officially closed his term as chairman of the National Governors Association during the nonpartisan organization’s 2020 summer meeting, which was held virtually and included more than 40 of the nation’s governors.
Governor Hogan announced that through this national infrastructure initiative, Foundation for Success, he is establishing and funding a legacy position at NGA dedicated to advancing infrastructure reforms. The position will initially be funded through January 2023—the end of his term as governor.
The governor’s national infrastructure initiative was built around four pillars to identify and promote state best practices in infrastructure:
- Relieve Congestion to Boost Economic Competitiveness,
- Enhance Efficiency by Eliminating Red Tape and Integrating Smart Technology,
- Strengthen Security and Resiliency by Protecting America’s Critical Infrastructure from Disaster and Cyber Threats, and
- Finance for the Future by Leveraging Private Sector Investments.
In his final address as NGA chairman, the governor paid tribute to the leadership of his fellow governors throughout the COVID-19 pandemic:
“It was the honor of a lifetime to have been chosen by my colleagues to serve as chairman of the National Governors Association.
“I could not be more proud of this organization, of every single one of our governors on both sides of the aisle, and of everything that we have accomplished together.
“In states across the country, at one of the most important moments in our history, governors are doing what we do best—we are working together in a bipartisan way, showing real leadership, making real progress, and finding real solutions to the serious problems facing us.
“Never has that type of leadership been more important than it is right now in America.
“I began my term as chairman last July in Salt Lake City by launching a national infrastructure initiative. In August, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker hosted us in Boston to discuss innovative ways to reduce traffic congestion. In September, we completed a three-city fact-finding mission in Australia.
“We were hosted by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in October, where we talked about protecting America’s critical infrastructure. In January, Governor Gavin Newsom hosted us in San Francisco for a discussion on eliminating red tape and smart technologies. And we were looking forward to traveling to Phoenix last month, but Governor Doug Ducey hosted us virtually to discuss leveraging private sector investments.
“But after our NGA winter meeting in Washington back in February, the world changed.
“For all of us, our focus quickly shifted to battling an unprecedented global pandemic, which has taken a terrible toll on our communities and wreaked havoc on our national and state economies.
“Responding to this crisis has shown more than ever the vital role of governors and of the NGA.
“Over the past five months, in the face of the most daunting challenge of our lifetime, America’s governors have stepped up and led. We didn’t let politics get in the way and we didn’t hesitate to make the tough decisions.
“We followed the advice of the experts, worked around the clock to build up our public health infrastructure, to expand our testing capacity, build contact tracing operations, and to provide life-saving PPE to our doctors, nurses, and first responders.
“Most importantly, in response to a silent enemy that doesn’t recognize state boundaries or political parties, we worked together.
“Since the NGA’s first briefing on the virus by federal leaders back in February with Dr. Fauci and Dr. Redfield, we have held over 50 calls with the governors in states across America, including 32 of them with the President or Vice President, members of the Cabinet, and the White House Coronavirus Task Force, not to mention the countless other communications we have had together over the past five months.
“We have looked to each other for ideas, advice, and for help. We have worked across party lines together, and when it really mattered, we have spoken with one unified voice.
“We successfully pushed for Title 32 funding to support the National Guard’s COVID-19 response missions. We convinced the federal administration to invoke the Defense Production Act to produce ventilators and swabs and to make more life-saving supplies available to the states. We achieved greater flexibility in federal CARES Act funding to sustain critical response efforts on the front lines.
“The National Governors Association has been more relevant and more effective than it has ever been before. Our swift, early, aggressive actions, and our united efforts have helped to save lives.
“Of course we all know that this crisis is far from over. We continue to battle this global pandemic and this economic collapse. And we will continue to push Congress and the administration to follow through on their commitment to provide additional critical funding for state governments, who are battling on the front lines.
“I have no doubt that together, America’s governors will continue to lead and that we will continue to do whatever it takes to get our states and our nation back on track.
“Together, we will do what Americans have always done in times of crisis—we will defeat this deadly virus together, we will get through this, and we will come back stronger and better than ever before.
“Once again, thank you for giving me the incredible honor of serving as your chairman this past year.
“I especially want to thank my vice-chair and the incoming chairman of the NGA, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. We have had a terrific working relationship over the past year.
“I am proud of all that the NGA has accomplished and Governor Cuomo, I wish you and your Vice Chair Governor Hutchinson all the best and continued success over the next year.
“May God bless each and every one of you and the people of your states.”
More in the video below.