Western Governors deliver 2017 State of the State addresses

The West

Western Governors have begun delivering their 2017 State of the State addresses. We created a "word cloud" of the most common themes in the speeches, and below is a roundup of the speeches.


Bill Walker delivered his third State of the State address on Jan. 18, 2017, urging the State Legislature to address Alaska’s fiscal crisis. “State revenues are down more than 80% from four years ago. While we have cut the budget 44%, we still face a $3 billion gap.” The Juneau Empire reported that the governor was open to alternatives. “If you don’t support the plan I have proposed, then put another plan on the table.” (Story) Here's where to watch or read the address


Doug Ducey outlined his key policy priorities in his State of the State address on Jan. 9, 2017. The Arizona Republic reported that the speech, themed "Boundless Opportunity," was an optimistic call to expand opportunities. (Story) Gov. Ducey focused largely on increased investments in education, noting: "We can’t claim Opportunity for All unless every child, regardless of their background, neighborhood, county, or zip code, has access to a quality education.” Read the full speech.


Gov. Jerry Brown reiterated promises to protect undocumented immigrants, provide health care to the needy and continue his fight against climate change in his State of the State speech on Jan. 24, 2017. While the Sacramento Bee reported that much of the Governor's speech seemed to be in opposition to the new administration, Gov. Brown pledged to work with President Trump on "big" infrastructure improvements. “I say ‘Amen to that,’ man!” Brown told a joint session of the Legislature, drawing bipartisan applause. “Amen to that, brother! We’re there with you.”


Gov. John Hickenlooper focused on the economy, education, transportation and budget challenges in his State of the State address on Jan. 12, 2017. The Denver Post reported that the Governor touted an economic rebound that created 400,000 new jobs in his tenure and declared, “The state of our state is strong.” (Story) Gov. Hickenlooper also addressed the state's rising homelessness and lack of affordable housing. Read the full speech.


Gov. David Ige delivered his State of the State address on Jan. 23, 2017. The Honolulu Star Advertiser reported that the Governor touted achievements but warned the slowed state economy would require budget adjustments. (Story) Gov. Ige was confident in the state's ability to overcome the financial issues, encouraging: “We must tap our greatest resource, our people, to find our way to the next great economic transformation: the development of an innovation sector.” Read the full speech.


Gov. Butch Otter focused on improving education and career readiness in his joint State of the State and Budget address on Jan. 9, 2017. The Associated Press reported the majority of Gov. Otter's proposed budget would be spent on education, including increasing public schools funding by $104 million. (Story) The Governor emphasized. "Ultimately, my education funding proposals are about doing the right thing for the next generation of Idahoans." Read the full speech.


Gov. Sam Brownback delivered his State of the State speech on Jan. 10, 2017. The Wichita Eagle reported Gov. Brownback called Kansas “the envy of the world” for reasons ranging from the state’s sunsets to the aerospace industry. (Story) The Governor proposed several initiatives, including scholarships to help educate teachers who agree to stay in Kansas. “There is much work to be done, but I am confident that by working together, we can create greater opportunity and a brighter future for our students,” Gov. Brownback said. Read the full speech.


Gov. Steve Bullock delivered his State of the State address on Jan. 24, 2017. Montana Public Radio reported that education, budget, energy and infrastructure dominated the Governor's speech. (Story) Gov. Bullock touted the state's lower unemployment rate and household income growth and highlighted common values to legislators, including, "Fiscal responsibility. Education. Infrastructure. Job creation. Caring for others." Read the full speech.


Gov. Pete Ricketts called for spending cuts to close the budget gap in his State of the State speech on Jan. 12, 2017. The Omaha World-Herald reported that Gov. Rickett's proposed fiscal plan would hold state spending virtually flat for the next two budget years. (Story) The Governor said of the fixing the budget situation: “This isn’t easy.  It will require Nebraska grit.” Read the full speech.


Brian Sandoval delivered his final State of the State address on Jan. 17, 2017. The Las Vegas Review Journal reported the Governor 'heralded the strides Nevada has made over the last six years.' (Story) Gov. Sandoval also announced new spending for education, workforce development, state parks and veterans. He touted, "The evidence is undeniable. We’re on the right track because we’ve made the right choices." Read the full speech

New Mexico

Gov. Susana Martinez asked lawmakers to embrace bipartisan solutions to promote economic growth in her State of the State address on Jan. 17, 2017. The Albuquerque Journal reported that the Governor highlighted recent successes, including record high graduation rates. (Story) While Gov. Martinez also pushed for tougher criminal penalties and educational standards, her main focus was finding solutions for the budget. “We’ve met challenges before in a bipartisan manner, and we can do it again. But it will take courage," she said. Read the full speech

North Dakota

Gov. Doug Burgum was officially sworn in as North Dakota's 33rd Governor on Jan. 3, 2017. The new Western Governor delivered a State of the State address at the ceremony that urged North Dakotans to embrace change. The Bismarck Tribune reported that the Governor called on lawmakers to help him reinvent state government and rethink budgeting, education, addiction treatment and tribal relations. (StoryRead the full speech.


Gov. Mary Fallin advocated for an increase in teacher pay in her State of the State speech on Feb. 6, 2017. Fallin also proposed tax increases, intended to fill a projected $868 million budget hole, on cigarettes and gasoline, along with an expansion of sales tax for online purchases. "Let's act on a permanent pay raise for our public school teachers," Fallin said to a standing ovation from the joint session of the House and Senate. "It is what the public and families want." Read the full speech


Gov. Kate Brown was sworn in for her first elected term as Governor on Jan. 9, 2016. The Oregonian reported that Gov. Brown highlighted Oregon's work for equality and said "we can not and will not retreat" in a speech that also served as her State of the State address. (Story) The Governor also focused on her policy goals, including legislation aimed at bridging the "economic fault line" between the state's urban and rural communities. Read the full speech.

South Dakota

Gov. Dennis Daugaard delivered his State of the State address on Jan. 10, 2017. Gov. Daugaard discussed the need to direct more attention toward education reform, improve the state's tribal relations, and tackle the state’s methamphetamine epidemic. The Governor also announced that he aims to resolve issues surrounding mentally ill people entering the criminal justice system. (Story)


Gov. Greg Abbott delivered his State of the State address on Jan. 31, 2017. The Governor named four emergency items in his address to lawmakers, including: reforming Child Protective Services, banning sanctuary cities, implementing meaningful ethics reforms and passing a resolution calling for a Convention of States. Find a highlight video and complete text of the address here.


Gov. Gary Herbert delivered his State of the State address on Jan. 25, 2017. The Salt Lake City Tribune reported that the Governor introduced "Talent Ready Utah" in response to job creation by high-tech businesses that outstrips the number of qualified people to fill them. Gov. Herbert also spoke in support of more resources for education, praised yet-to-be released legislation that seeks to modernize liquor laws, and said the state will seek to improve air quality. "Our climb has been arduous, but the height that Utah's economy now occupies is remarkable," he said


Gov. Jay Inslee delivered his second inaugural address on Jan. 11, 2017. The Seattle Times reported that the Governor largely sought to use the speech to motivate lawmakers to finish the job of fully funding the state’s K-12 schools. (Story) Gov. Inslee also asked legislators to continue work on issues such as mental health, homelessness and opioid addiction. He closed by reiterating the state's commitment to ensuring equal rights: "No matter what happens in that Washington, here in this Washington, we will not forget who we are." Read the full speech.


Gov. Matt Mead delivered his State of the State address on Jan. 11, 2017. Gov. Mead addressed the state's revenue shortfall and identified education funding as a key challenge. He was optimistic about steps taken to build an industry around carbon capture, noting: “Projects like these not only help Wyoming’s number one industry minerals, especially coal, they foster diversification.” Wyoming Public Radio reported that the Governor also emphasized investments in the state’s firearms industry, outdoor recreation, and agriculture as part of a plan to diversify and strengthen the state’s revenue. (StoryRead the full speech.

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