February 2018 Capitol Commentary

Congratulations to Duane Morris Government Strategies Managing Director Eric Martins for being nominated by Kentucky Senate President Pro Tem Jimmy Higdon and commissioned by Kentucky Governor Matthew Bevin as a Kentucky Colonel.
In less than a year, voters in 36 states will decide on their respective governors during the 2018 midterm elections. Many of these contests have already become competitive with a host of Republican and Democratic nominees announcing their candidacy.

This month, we're looking at races and key players in midwestern states: Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. Throughout 2018, DMGS will be following the gubernatorial races across the U.S. with expert commentary and insight.
For a review of the upcoming races in the West Coast States, please visit last months blog by clicking  HERE
CALIFORNIA - Brown's State Of The State Mixes Optimism & Warnings

When Jerry Brown returned to the California governor's office in 2011 - nearly 30 years after he finished his first two terms in 1983 - he inherited a $27-billion budget deficit and a state mocked by critics.

Now, California boasts a multi-billion-dollar surplus. Its economy is booming. And Brown touted a list of bipartisan accomplishments: a pension overhaul, a new budget reserve, and an extension of the state's cap-and-trade program to combat climate change.

He is California's longest-serving governor, a three-time Democratic presidential candidate, and Thursday's Assembly speech was his final State of the State address. He told lawmakers that California is prospering and laid out a path for the state to continue its progress - but issued dire warnings on a global scale.

HAWAII - Gov. Ige Gives 2018 State Of The State Address

Gov. Dave Ige used his statewide address to touch upon several critical issues in Hawaii. "We're on track to meet our goal of 10,000 new housing units by 2020 with at least 40% affordable. And this session I'm requesting $100 million to maintain the momentum and produce more affordable homes across the state," he said.

Governor Ige also reiterated his promise to address Hawaii's homeless problem.

"We continue our efforts to offer services to those who have so far refused to leave the streets to move into a better life... Our budget request also includes $15 million in additional funding for housing first initiatives, out reach services and maintaining safety in our public places," Ige said.

MICHIGAN - Gov. Snyder Takes Victory Lap In Final State Of The State Address

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder sought to take a victory lap in his eighth and final State of the State address Tuesday, telling a joint session of the Legislature the state has enjoyed a tremendous recovery and "now we're accelerating this comeback into the future."

As Snyder spoke, his record as governor was under fire from both Democrats and some Republicans who want to succeed him as governor. He was criticized after the speech for not devoting more of it to the ongoing Flint drinking water crisis.

"Last year, for the first time since the turn of the century, more people came into Michigan than left Michigan," Snyder said, touting a greatly reduce unemployment rate, a strong automobile industry and gains in personal income.

Snyder, who spoke for 53 minutes, praised huge progress in state government finances and prospects for the City of Detroit after it emerged from the nation's largest municipal bankruptcy, which he initiated. "Remember what Detroit was like 10 years ago?" he asked. "The progress has been incredible."

Read More at the Detroit Free Press
MASSACHUSETTS - Baker Says Mass Is Economically 'Hitting On All Cylinders'

Gov. Charlie Baker - entering the final year of his first term and gearing up for a re-election contest - delivering a workmanlike tick-tock of his administration's accomplishments on Tuesday night, while challenging Democrats to continue working with him to curb opioid abuse, build more housing and deliver on his vision for politics without "name-calling."

Baker, who is riding high in the polls as he and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito prepare to make the case for another four years in office, used his final State of the Commonwealth address to run through accomplishments his administration has chalked up over three years.

In many ways, the speech was quintessential Charlie Baker: slow and steady, seldom flashy and focused on the finer points of governing.

We live in a great state filled with creative, community minded, hard-working decent people. And what they want from us is opportunity, possibility and hope," Baker said. "Not noise. Not name calling. And not finger-pointing. Progress on the things that help them help themselves."

UTAH - Herbert Touts Utah's 'Unique Spirit Of Collaboration' In State Of The State

Utah's "unique spirit of collaboration" in government, business and society will carry the state into a prosperous and civil future as it takes on difficult challenges ahead, Gov. Gary Herbert said Wednesday.

"When I became governor, I said that Utah would unlock unlimited possibilities through unprecedented partnerships, he said during the annual State of the State address at the Capitol.

Speaking to a joint session of the Utah Legislature, Herbert touted successes in public education, the economy, reducing homelessness and crime in downtown Salt Lake City, helping hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico and a newly formed suicide prevention coalition. He said that kind of cooperation sets the state apart.

Instead of skirting big issues, and pointing fingers and refusing to talk, Utah faces them with personal and shared responsibility." And we find answers," he said. "And we make our world and our communities better."

Read more at Desert News
WISCONSIN - Walker Introduces New Child Tax Credit In State Of The State Address

Gov. Scott Walker unveiled a new $122 million child tax credit in his State of the State address.

The cut would give families $100 annually per child and is estimated to cost $122 million a year. The first year's cost will be covered by a recently announced $137.5 million budget surplus, which resulted from increased tax collections, debt payment re-estimates, and a fund transfer.

"I'm calling on the Legislature to pass my plan so that by the time your kids begin school in the fall, you will have a check in the mailbox." Walker said.

Walker used the speech to highlight some of his proposals for the remainder of the legislative session, which is scheduled to end by May. Those proposals include initiatives related to health care, rural development, welfare and juvenile justice.

Read more at Wisconsin Public Radio
Do you have experience lobbying in a State Capital? Do you have an interest in joining our growing national team? We are looking for enthusiastic individuals with state legislative and grassroots experience. Qualified candidates should send their resume to emartins@dmgs.com.