Idaho Gov. Kempthorne Assumes NGA Chairmanship
By Ed Somers
September 8, 2003
Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne became the new chairman of the National Governors Association (NGA) on August 19 at the closing plenary of the association's Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, and called upon his colleagues to become actively engaged in the major issues facing states and the nation. He also announced the creation of a new NGA standing committee on education.
"This new committee will focus on our children and their future," Kempthorne said. "As we deal with state budgets and finite resources, we must be assured that we are investing in practices that will provide the best opportunities for our children."
Kempthorne also said he was hopeful that the 25 new governors who have now been in office for nine months are ready to take a more active role in national issues and the work of the NGA in Washington, D.C. Mississippi Governor Ronnie Musgrove was named vice chairman.
Kempthorne will focus his "Chairman's Initiative" on long-term care issues. "The combination of high life expectancy and increased rates of chronic illness paints a bleak picture for our nation's long-term care system," said Kempthorne. "But this issue is more than simply numbers and statistics. In essence, this country is a victim of its own medical success. Thanks to better research, medicines and techniques, Americans are living longer."
"We know the problem because of what it does to our budgets. But it is more than budgets. It is more than legislation. It is people. It is dignity. And we need common'sense solutions to truly provide long-term care that addresses the needs of an aging population. While the answers may not be right in front of us, this organization is going to raise these issues," Kempthorne said.
Kempthorne, who served as Mayor of Boise and a U.S. Senator, in June addressed the Conference of Mayors Annual Meeting in Denver, where he spoke of the success of the Unfunded Federal Mandates Act and which has resulted in only two of 3,000 proposed federal mandates becoming law.
In concluding his remarks, Kempthorne said that he would work for closer cooperative efforts among the Big 7 state and local organizations when he assumes the chairmanship of NGA. "The Big 7 can do big things when we work together," he said.