As governor of Iowa, the host of the 2016 National Governors Association (NGA) Summer Meeting, I wanted to share with Utahns my admiration for Gov. Gary Herbert, chair of this year’s NGA Summer Meeting. As NGA chair, Gov. Herbert has focused his efforts on empowering states to deliver solutions for their citizens. I applaud Gov. Herbert’s initiate, States: Finding Solutions, Improving Lives, because that’s precisely what the Founding Fathers envisioned in giving powers to the states.
States: Finding Solutions, Improving Lives is about providing states with the flexibility they need to best address the needs of their individual citizens. Rather than a federal first approach to our policy ailments, this initiative taps into the hallmark of the 10th Amendment, which looks to the states to act as a laboratory of ideas. This belief that real action takes place at the state level is enshrined in our Constitution with the following, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
As governors, many of us are making the tough decisions that taxpayers, businesses and families expect us to make. We are balancing state budgets, reducing taxes and easing regulatory burdens. By making these tough decisions, we are fostering a culture of growth and prosperity. As a result, states like Utah and Iowa are both seeing low unemployment, more job opportunities and increasing family incomes.
But taxpayers also expect states to deliver innovative solutions to challenges stemming from a 21st century global economy. In our states, we are doing exactly that. States are the ones working to ensure that our workforce systems are ready to develop and sustain a skilled workforce for today’s modern global economy. States are the ones placing the highest priority on job opportunities for our men and women who have recently served in the military. States are the ones improving the overall health and quality of life for our citizens while doing everything possible to contain costs. And states are the ones rebuilding and expanding our infrastructure to move goods to market.
Gov. Herbert’s initiative to highlight some of the most innovative solutions is exactly the prescription needed at a time of divisiveness when bipartisanship is often a dirty word. I know that our willingness to share ideas and come together will yield tremendous returns. I thank Gov. Herbert for his leadership and look forward to many fruitful conversations over the next week as governors from around the country gather in my beautiful home state.
Gov. Terry Branstad is the current governor of Iowa and is also the longest-serving governor in American history. Gov. Branstad served as chairman of the National Governors Association from 1989-1990 and has also chaired many national organizations over his illustrious career in public service.