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New Faces in Gubernatorial Offices

November 10, 2016

Twelve gubernatorial seats were up for election Tuesday, five of which were held by incumbents seeking reelection. Four of those – Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D), Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D), Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) – were reelected for second terms. In North Carolina, Democratic candidate and State Attorney General Roy Cooper has a lead of less than one percent over incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory. Gov. McCrory has not conceded and the result is pending a canvass of votes, which may not be complete until November 18.

As of this publication, there are seven new governors taking office:

·         Democratic Congressman John Carney won the seat in Delaware.

·         Republican Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb won in Indiana.

·         Republican and former Navy Seal Eric Greitens won in Missouri.

·         Republican Chris Sununu won in New Hampshire.

·         Republican Microsoft executive Doug Burgum won in North Dakota.

·         Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott won in Vermont.

·         Democratic business executive Jim Justice won in West Virginia.

As was highlighted in a previous issue of the Digest, an overview of the economic development and education stances for the governors follows.

Delaware’s Gov.-elect Carney’s economic development plan includes restructuring the state’s economic development office to focus on entrepreneurial activities. He also advocates strengthening the environment for startup companies, by creating and implementing a science & technology plan; developing a strategic plan with private businesses to attract more venture capital; creating a First State Innovation Challenge competition for the state’s innovators to focus on solutions; and, improving broadband access to rural areas of the state. Carney’s education plan includes creating a workforce development plan; and, expanding career pathways programs for graduating high school seniors.

Indiana Gov.-elect Holcomb has indicated he would maintain Gov. Mike Pence’s economic development agenda. He would expand job growth by investing in startups, high-growth companies and university partnerships. He would use data to create a demand-driven workforce training system focusing on the state’s strategic industry sectors, including manufacturing, biosciences and information technology. He advocates making the Venture Capital Investment Tax Credit transferable to incentivize investment from investors outside of Indiana.

Missouri Gov.-elect Greitens has stated jobs are his top priority and he seeks to build an economy that would create more private sector jobs throughout Missouri. Self-described as a “budget hawk,” Greitens believes Missouri’s tax code should be simplified, including the elimination or closing of special interest tax loopholes; advocates for the elimination of burdensome regulations on small businesses and the private sector; and pledges to shrink government to eliminate waste and fraud. Greitens recommends more education choices and is opposed to common core.

Montana Gov. Bullock said he would build on build on the outcomes of the Main Street Montana Project to enhance opportunities for economic growth. He has released his plan for the next four years that will focus on creating jobs – including expanding job training and apprenticeship opportunities to Montana’s graduates, growing the economy, increasing wages and cutting taxes on Montana’s small businesses. The administration believes that education is a top priority, and he proposes preparing students for the global 21st century economy by continuing to partner with organizations to improve digital access across the state, providing funding and investment in Montana’s Digital Academy, which prepares students for the tech jobs of the future. Gov. Bullock advocates freezing tuition rates at the state’s public colleges and universities. He has also proposed continuing to grow the state’s tech industry through the on-going efforts of the Big Sky Trust Fund. The administration recently launched the Montana Business navigator to assist small businesses and entrepreneurs in the state to navigate or cut through bureaucratic red tape and expand businesses.

New Hampshire Gov.-elect Sununu’s plan for the state’s economy includes an overhaul of the NH Economic Development Office, reducing business taxes and attracting new business by meeting with 100 companies in 100 days to invite them to do business in New Hampshire. He plans to invest in workforce readiness by incentivizing students to remain in the state after graduating from New Hampshire colleges and to foster partnerships between community colleges and businesses.

North Dakota Gov.-elect Burgum had no specifics detailed on his website, but has said he pledges to cut spending, reform the property tax system and increase local control. Burgum uses his business background in business, growing a startup company to its eventual acquisition by Microsoft Corporation, to appeal to voters. He advocates building North Dakota’s innovation stature and building a more diversified economy beyond the oil industry.

Oregon Gov. Brown identified priorities and proposed policies that focus on building a skilled and educated workforce, making education her top priority and claiming responsibility for what she says is the largest K-12 and early childhood education investment in Oregon’s history; doubling its funding for career and technical education (CTE), as well as for science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) programs. She has also expanded the state’s scholarships grants, also known as the “Opportunity Grants” program to Oregon’s college students, as well as signed the Promise law, which reduced community college tuition to as little as $50 per term. If elected, Gov. Brown plans to continue to focus on increasing the state’s education activities as well as increase the state’s graduation rates in order to help Oregon’s small businesses and economy. She created the Small Business Advisory Cabinet and will continue to work with the cabinet to advance policies that offer entrepreneurs and businesses programs such as mentorships, access to capital, and targeted support to entrepreneurs / companies in the state’s rural or underserved communities.

Utah Gov. Herbert has outlined a six-point list of his education principles, focusing on adequate funding, workforce alignment and innovation. The governor proposes safeguarding the state’s tax rates and improving government efficiency – including the on-going review and elimination of business regulations. Under Gov. Herbert, his campaign says the state would remain actively involved in economic development and policies and initiatives to assist entrepreneurs and innovators in the state to develop their ideas and products. Additionally, the administration remains committed to preparing the state’s future workforce to be civically engaged citizens and seeks to continue to promote innovative approaches to partnerships between education, industry and community partners to better the state’s education system.

Vermont Gov.-elect Scott’s Blueprint for Economic Growth includes a 12-part plan. Part of his plan is to revitalize the county economic centers, expanding innovation hubs and designating high-tech zones. With a diminishing labor supply as the state’s population ages and workers retire, his plan to invest in the workforce includes technical and trade education to trigger interest in the STEM fields, retain more college graduates, and rethink the public-private partnerships that are necessary to cultivate the next generation of workers.

Washington Gov. Inslee plans to focus his government economic development efforts on jobs and the state’s key industries and sectors including aerospace, clean energy, life sciences, information and communication technology and small business. During his first term, he established the Office of Economic Competitiveness and Development to connect economic development, trade execution and policy development. Gov. Inslee has said he will continue to prioritize STEM education, invest in workforce development, and advance initiatives to support the state’s key industries. He has proposed a vision for moving the state forward, which includes advancing a living wage for workers and job growth; continuing to improve the state’s education system through significant new investments in early learning and K-12, and through training and apprenticeship programs; maintaining state cuts in tuition for college students – including for those attending community colleges or career/technical schools – and the state’s DREAM Act, which extends state need grant eligibility to thousands of undocumented college students.

West Virginia Gov.-elect Justice’s jobs plan provides no specifics on TBED initiatives, but promotes providing new uses for coal, making the state a distribution center for agricultural products, and using universities to identify specific job opportunities. His education plan proposes to prepare students for a career, without providing specifics.

The Digest will follow up with results from North Carolina once they become official.

Delaware, Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont, West Virginiastate tbed