Hogan Passes Gavel to Cuomo at National Governors Association Summer Meeting

August 6, 2020 by Reece Nations
New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington. (Photo by Dan McCue)

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan passed his chairmanship of the National Governors Association to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the association’s bi-annual meeting Wednesday.

Cuomo will head the new gubernatorial leadership in tandem with Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, the association’s newly elected vice chair. The first New York governor to hold this position, Cuomo is set to become the nation’s longest-serving governor next year.

The association’s chair and vice chair, along with nine other members of the executive committee, are elected annually to oversee operations on behalf of the entire NGA membership. In addition to the association’s five standing committees, NGA additionally forms ad hoc task forces that focus on high-priority issues for states.

Each year, a special “Chair’s Initiative” task force is organized to devote efforts to a unique national initiative as directed by the NGA chair. In Hogan’s remarks during the virtual meeting, he highlighted what was learned from his year-long term as head of the NGA. 

Traffic congestion reduction efforts, protecting America’s critical infrastructure, eliminating excessive bureaucracy and supporting smart technologies were some of the issues the outgoing NGA executive committee initially concentrated on, Hogan said. However, the priorities of the executives shifted once the novel coronavirus pandemic began ramping up nationwide. 

“Responding to this crisis has shown, more than ever, the vital role of governors and of the NGA,” Hogan said. “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 the politics get in the way, and we didn’t hesitate to make the tough decisions.”

Since the NGA’s first COVID-19 briefing in February, over 50 calls among the governors were convened to discuss the best course of action when confronting the pandemic, Hogan said. These calls transcended party-lines and led to an unprecedented amount of cooperation.

The sentiment of bucking partisan affiliation was echoed by Cuomo during his remarks at the event. The agenda of his executive committee will build upon the foundation laid by Hogan and the outgoing executives, he said.

“Next year’s agenda is not really going to be a question of discretion, but rather the dictation of reality,” Cuomo said. “Our agenda is America’s recovery and revival.”

Mitigation efforts to suppress coronavirus until a vaccination is available was the foremost priority mentioned by Cuomo in his address. Support from the federal government is a key factor in these efforts, he said.

Further, tackling the economic fallout brought on by the pandemic was a vital factor in the successful nationwide recovery, Cuomo said. Rectifying the critical health care needs exposed by COVID-19 will play a significant role in this process as well.

The shared responsibility of state and federal governance will have a new meaning going forward, he said. Redefining the federal partnership with states will be another prime concern of his tenure as NGA chair.

Cuomo emphasized the necessity to institutionalize the proven solutions of combatting the pandemic. Unprecedented widespread testing capacity, revitalized supply-chains, rampant contact tracing, PPE stockpiles, medicine supply stockpile and emergency surge capacity were all mentioned specifically in the address.

“As we gather today, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that COVID is a problem that affects every state in this nation,” Cuomo said. “It is the great unifier, it doesn’t discriminate. This is a battle for all of us, and we know that we must resolve this virus together. We know that unless COVID is defeated everywhere, it won’t be defeated anywhere.” 

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