Governors Conference gets down to business

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - South Mississippi is the host of the 101st National Governor's Meeting. Saturday marked the official start for the annual conference.

For the next few days governors from across the country will gather to discuss issues like infrastructure, insurance and healthcare.

Saturday morning Governor Haley Barbour kicked off the annual event with a welcome conference.

Governor Barbour and governors from Montana, Vermont and West Virginia met with members of the press to preview some of the issues at this year's conference.

The highlight of the bi-partisan conference will be infrastructure and how to facilitate economic growth.

Governors say much of that discussion will center on how the federal stimulus plan can both help and hurt the nation.

"We're up on a very high peak that we're going to have to get down off of when the stimulus money runs out," said Barbour. "So pushing it out another year or two years is not going to help because people don't have the money to give us."

Other governors are pleased with the stimulus plan but say they know there will still be work to do in the coming years.

"We'll have to find the adjustments that need to be made looking at our past policies and looking at our benefit packages and looking at how we operate our states to be able to live within our means," said West Virginia governor Joe Manchin III. "This is where the rubber meets the road, and governors understand that. We are CEOs. And governors make those decisions, and we do what's best not just for today but for future generations."

The conference will continue Sunday with committee meetings including a session focused on emergency preparedness. The sessions wrap up Monday after leaders meet to discuss energy and the economy.

The last time the National Governor's Conference was held in Mississippi was 1935 at the Markham building in downtown Gulfport.

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