BOSTON – Monday, February 25, 2008 – The New England Governors' Conference today selected Governor Patrick to be the group’s Vice Chair for 2008 and 2009. The group met today during the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C.
“I look forward to helping shape our region's strategy on energy and global climate change, and ways to use those challenges to spur economic development,” said Governor Patrick.
The New England Governors' Conference, an informal alliance since colonial days, was formally established in 1937 by the Governors of the six state region to promote New England's economic development. In 1981, the Conference incorporated as a non-partisan, non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)3 corporation. The region's six governors serve as its Board of Directors.
The NEGC's framework permits the Governors to work together, to coordinate and implement policies and programs which are designed to respond to regional issues. Maine Governor John Baldacci was made chair.
Governor Patrick was also chosen to lead the Coalition of Northeast Governors (CONEG) on energy issues. The Coalition voted this weekend at its annual meeting. As Lead Governor for the Northeast states on energy, Governor Patrick will focus on energy and transportation issues relative to global climate change. Transportation through fuel choice and public transportation can help manage the region's carbon footprint. Public transportation, such as the commuter rail, helps encourage smart growth development, which is another path to smart energy use.
The Coalition named Vermont Governor Jim Douglas as Chair, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer as Vice Chair, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine as transportation lead and New Hampshire Governor John Lynch as lead for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
Tomorrow, Governor Patrick will testify before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce in Washington, D.C. in favor of SCHIP – the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides critical and cost-effective preventive care to children while helping keep skyrocketing healthcare expenses in check.