National Governors Association’s new chair, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (NGA)

Governors pivot to energy, transportation innovation

The National Governors Association’s new chair, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, has chosen technology innovation as the main initiative for his year-long appointment.  

Specifically targeting energy and transportation innovation, Sandoval's  plan is called “Ahead of the Curve: Innovation Governors” and aims to help states "stay one step ahead in our rapidly changing world and how we can better prepare for the ongoing technological transformation of the economy”

Ahead of the Curve will support technology transformation, update communications and data systems and protect states from cyber threats. The initiative also aims to modernize policy, conduct citizen outreach and prepare the workforce.

Over the next year,  Sandoval will host two summits, conduct an experts’ roundtable and release policy road maps to help governors navigate energy and transportation issues in the coming years.

At the summits, governors, state officials, industry and other stakeholders can meet with thought leaders, share success stories and showcase technologies and policy solutions. Sandoval said he hopes the summits will make governors more aware of IT changes, give states with policy plans based on expert and peer advice and allow stakeholders to interact with government officials.

“It is paramount that as governors, we learn as much as we can on these issues and how energy technology can advance alongside new and current sources,” Sandoval said in a statement. “I am also confident we can and will craft cutting-edge policies that will make the transportation transition a smooth one.”

Part of Sandoval’s plan includes protecting state systems from cyber threats, which was the main focus of the NGA’s previous chair, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Earlier this month McAuliffe said his efforts were successful in putting a spotlight on cybersecurity.

“Since the launch of my initiative, more than 30 governors have signed an executive order, legislation or announced a cybersecurity initiative,” he said at the NGA summer meeting. “This has resulted in a dozen executive orders, 14 signed bills and 17 initiatives.”

About the Author

Matt Leonard is a former reporter for GCN.

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