State Watch

Arkansas, New Jersey governors to head National Governors Association

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) will run the National Governors Association (NGA) for the next year after a vote by their peers on Wednesday.

Hutchinson, currently the group’s vice chairman, will take over from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) as the incoming chairman. Murphy will become the NGA’s vice chairman and the next in line to oversee the organization the following year.

Hutchinson welcomed Murphy to the NGA’s leadership ranks.

“I look forward to working even closer with Gov. Murphy as he becomes Vice Chair of the National Governors Association,” Hutchinson said in a statement to The Hill. “Gov. Murphy showed a steady hand of leadership during the pandemic and has proven he can work across the aisle to get things done.”

The National Governors Association is a bipartisan group that typically tackles nonpartisan or noncontroversial issues of growing concern to state governments. In a statement, Murphy praised Hutchinson for his work expanding rural broadband access. 

“I look forward to working with fellow governors of both parties on issues such as recovery from the pandemic, infrastructure, the opioid crisis, broadband expansion, and workforce development,” Murphy said. “Gov. Hutchinson has been a leader on many bipartisan initiatives, including the expansion of broadband access to underserved communities, and I look forward to partnering with him in his role as NGA Chair over the course of the next year.”

The NGA itself has gone through a serious reorganization in recent years, after the group’s two former leaders, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and then-Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D), ousted its longtime executive director in 2019. 

The upheaval came amid a surge of discontent among both NGA staff and top lobbyists for state governments, many of whom share an office building with the NGA in the shadow of the Capitol. More than a dozen top staffers quit before the executive director was fired.

But in recent months, the NGA has staffed up again. Last week, the group said it had hired Tiffany Waddell, a former top Hogan aide, as its director of government relations, the top liaison between governors and Congress and the White House.

Tags Andrew Cuomo Asa Hutchinson National Governors Association NGA Phil Murphy Steve Bullock
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