Governors in the news: state executives are reaching out to fellow lawmakers to achieve their agendas
By Eileen McGuire-Mahony
Iowa's new Lieutenant Governor will oversee the closing down of the RIO
Kim Reynolds, Iowa's Lieutenant Governor, has been tasked by Governor Terry E. Branstad, to oversee the final months of the Rebuild Iowa Office, set to shutter its doors on June 30, 2011. The RIO has existed as a program to handle emergency and longterm recovery efforts from flooding. Reynolds has said she views the charge as an opportunity to renew best practices and formulate improved plans for countering flooding in the state.
Indiana's Governor fights to save low-income insurance program
Republican Mitch Daniels, closely watched as he weighs a Presidential run, has reached out to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius, hoping to persuade the Secretary not to axe the Healthy Indiana Program, a state-level subsidy for uninsured low-income Indiana citizens. Qualifying citizens for HIP make personal contributions into individual savings accounts, something Governor Daniels says enrollees have been doing consistently, building up substantial personal accounts. He also reports that the programs has lower emergency room use and higher reliance on preventative care than Medicaid. In two previous attempts to get answers from HHS on the programs future, Daniels has not received the requested guidance. Barring a Federal extension. HIP will be terminated at the end on 2012.
Texas' Rick Perry asks lawmakers to take on sanctuary cities
Third-term Republican Governor Rick Perry is ambitious. His legislature already has the state's $27 billion deficit and redistricting, with four new Congressional seats, to work out during the session. Perry has asked them to tackle sanctuary cities in Texas, even moving it to the forefront of the legislative agenda by making it an 'emergency issue'. Democrats reacted by angrily, with lawmakers describing the issue as 'overblown' and Perry's strategy as 'pandering' and improperly partisan. The state's Democrat party lamented the consequential loss of attention toward cutting the budget shortfall while the GOP hedged on taking an official platform position. Perry campaigned last year on a pledge to end sanctuary cities and specifically targeted Houston, where his Democratic opponent serves as Mayor.
Washington's Governor Gregoire uses an open letter to the state's Congressional delegation to make her voice heard in healthcare debate
Washington's Democratic Governor, Christine Gregoire, has posted an open letter to her state's eleven delegates to Congress to urge resistance to GOP plans to rollback last year's healthcare law. In the letter, Gregoire highlights portions of the Affordable Care Act she has already implemented along with planned future steps she says would be lost if ACA is repealed. The Governor also notes flexibility from Federal agencies in enacting the law and rebuts GOP assertions that the law constrains states. The Republican majority in the House and the slight Democratic edge in the Senate mean any repeal Congressional Republicans can pass won't survive the Senate, but GOP leadership has spoken of plans to cut off funding and use other means to chip away at the mammoth piece of legislation.
- GovMonitor, “Governor Terry E. Branstad today named Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds to oversee the Rebuild Iowa Office (RIO) as it completes its scheduled June 30 close”, January 18, 2011 (timed out)
- GovMonitor, “Indiana Creates State Healthcare Exchange, Looks To Extend HIP”, January 17, 2011
- State of Indiana, Office of the Governor”, “Letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius, January 14, 2011”," accessed January 19, 2011
- Houston Star-Telegram, “Perry makes sanctuary cities a top issue for Legislature”, January 17, 2011 (dead link)
- Politico, “Letter to Members of the Washington Delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives, January 14, 2011”," accessed January 19, 2011