By Jessica Hill, Las Vegas Review-Journal, November 9, 2023
Gov. Joe Lombardo and other Western governors approved bipartisan resolutions aiming to tackle issues affecting the West — including the opioid epidemic and forestry and species management — at their annual Western Governors’ Association meeting this week.
“I enjoyed meeting with my fellow Western governors to discuss our shared regional opportunities and challenges,” Lombardo said in a statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “By discussing critical topics like public lands management, conservation efforts, and workforce pathways together, we’re able to facilitate bipartisan collaboration and enact solutions-oriented policy.”
In addition to gathering with the other western governors, Lombardo met with three cabinet secretaries: U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. Lombardo also moderated a panel on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons crisis.
One resolution the group approved highlighted the challenges posed by the opioid epidemic and Western governors’ policy to combat it, according to a Thursday statement from the association.
The governors urged the Department of Health and Human Services to expand state Medicaid waivers for opioid use disorder and pushed Congress to dedicate resources to states to develop and share culturally specific opioid awareness and education campaigns to meet the needs of each state, according to a statement from the association.
The governors also passed a resolution addressing national forest and rangeland challenges that include policy recommendations relating to wildfire mitigation, suppression and recovery, as well as a resolution outlining the governors’ policy positions on species management and conservation issues.
“An organization like WGA is only effective when all of the governors support the policymaking process that allows our Western states to speak with a unified voice on matters of mutual interest and concern,” Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon, the chair of Western Governors’ Association, said in a statement.