National Security

Pence Pledges More Power to States as Governors Conference Kicks Off

As National Governors Association holds its annual winter meeting, vice president promises new efforts to rebuild 'roads, bridges and infrastructure'

Image Credit: Screenshot C-SPAN

Vice President Mike Pence pledged on Friday to continue to give back more power to the states in remarks he made during a luncheon with governors ahead of their annual conference in Washington, D.C..

The National Governors Association (NGA) is hosting the governors through early next week as part of its annual winter conference. Pence invited them to a luncheon at his official residence ahead of the conference. He told them that President Donald Trump and his administration will keep fighting to give states more power.

“I hope you’ve seen in the last two years, those that served during that time, that this is an administration, led by a president, who truly believes in state-based flexibility, innovation and reform,” said Pence (shown above on Friday, with his wife, Karen Pence, beside him) during the luncheon.

“We believe in our governors and we believe in our states. The president even said, at his first meeting with the NGA, that his ambition is to have a true partnership with cooperation and collaboration with America’s governors and we’re doing just that.”

Related: Trump Delivers State of the Union Amid Stark Political Divide

The conference includes nearly every governor as well as over 1,000 guests from the worlds of business, nonprofit and government. The conference is set to cover such topics as child welfare, resiliency against disaster, education reform, technology, entrepreneurship and other issues important to state leaders.

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It begins Friday afternoon and continues through Monday.

“We’re proud that we worked with states to provide flexibility on health care, give a greater voice to states for land management — obviously we worked closely with state leaders to combat and discourage opioid abuse and addiction that so many of you have led with distinction on,” Pence said. “We worked to open up our natural resources for responsible development.”

Pence narrowed in on infrastructure as one issue the administration is hoping to partner with states on closely. For years there’s been a bipartisan call to address crumbling and outdated infrastructure.

Trump has talked about wanting to address it ever since the presidential campaign — and it’s been seen as one of the few major issues on which both sides can come together.

“I’ll make you a promise, and we’ll need to ask for your help, that in this Congress we’re going to pass historic infrastructure legislation to rebuild our roads, bridges and infrastructure,” Pence said. “Governors will play a leading role in that. And I have to tell you, the American people elected a builder as president — and he wants to rebuild.”

Related: How to Repatriate America’s Infrastructure

Pence added that the administration will also work to cut red tape more, so that governors and local officials can lead on the infrastructure needs in their states. He made similar remarks regarding natural disasters while pledging that the administration will be there to support the leaders during those trying times.

The NGA is a nonpartisan association consisting of governors from all of the states, territories and commonwealths across the country. The association doesn’t take a political stance, as its members come from across the political spectrum; but it does bring them together to meet to discuss national policy and develop innovative solutions to key issues.

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