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Seeking action on biosecurity, workforce development

Posted on Jun 22, 2019 in Capitol Connection, Featured
Governor Ige at a news conference with other WGA leaders. (photo credit - WGA)

Governor Ige at a news conference with other WGA leaders. (photo credit – WGA)

As chair of the Western Governors’ Association (WGA), Governor Ige met with leaders from a dozen western states last month in Colorado to discuss major policy initiatives. The WGA approved four resolutions on biosecurity and invasive species management (the governor’s signature initiative), national parks, wildlife migration corridors, and federal-state land exchanges and purchases. “It’s remarkable to see how big an issue biosecurity is for all the western states,” said Governor Ige. “On the mainland, the states are tied together by highways and waterways, which allows for easy transmission of invasive pests. We need to establish who at the federal level has the authority to stop vessels and keep out invasives that can wreak havoc on the environment.”

The WGA resolution on biosecurity calls for the creation of a Western Invasive Species Council; new mechanisms to enhance regional invasive species research, planning and coordination; and recommendations to Congress and federal agencies on improving invasive species management on federal lands and supporting state-led management efforts.

Governor Ige then traveled to Washington, D.C. in his role as co-chair of the Council of Governors. While there, he joined a working lunch with President Donald Trump and used the opportunity to thank the president for the federal disaster relief funding for Hawai‘i. The governor reported on what the state has been doing to provide more mentorships and job training in health care, IT and cybersecurity. “The federal government has given us grants to do apprenticeships in non-traditional areas,” the governor said. “If we have an employer who is having a hard time filling jobs with qualified candidates, one of our UH community colleges can work with businesses to develop the curriculum and employ the graduates, once they become certified. It’s also consistent with creating more job training opportunities for inmates as part of criminal justice reform.”

Read more in the July Capitol Connection newsletter

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