Established in 1984 through the merger of two Governors' organizations, the Western Governors' Association is an independent, non-partisan organization of Governors from 19 Western states, two Pacific-flag territories and one commonwealth. The Association was formed to provide strong multistate leadership in an era of critical change in the economy and demography of the West. The Western Governors recognize that many vital issues and opportunities shaping our future cross state lines and are shared throughout the West.
Through their Association, the Western Governors identify and address key policy and governance issues in natural resources, the environment, human services, economic development, international relations, transportation and public management. Governors select the issues based on regional interest and impact. WGA helps the Governors develop strategies both for the complex, long-term issues facing the West and for the region's immediate needs. Governors use the WGA to develop and advocate policies that reflect regional interests and relationships in debates at the national and state levels.
The WGA has six basic objectives:
1. DEVELOP AND COMMUNICATE REGIONAL POLICY
The WGA enables Governors to identify issues of regional concern, to formulate regional policy for those issues, and to take action that promotes western interests.
2. SERVE AS A LEADERSHIP FORUM
The WGA provides a forum for Governors and other leaders to exchange ideas, positions and experiences.
3. BUILD REGIONAL CAPACITY
Through the WGA, Governors and their staffs exchange information and ideas about problem solving for a wide range of practical management concerns. The exchange helps Governors manage their resources more efficiently and builds rapport among Governors, cabinet officers and gubernatorial staffs in the region.
4. CONDUCT RESEARCH AND DISSEMINATE FINDINGS
WGA develops and maintains up-to-date information on a wide range of subjects important to western policy makers, business leaders and educators. The WGA produces occasional white papers and other analyses used in the development of policy on matters important to the West.
5. FORM COALITIONS AND PARTNERSHIPS TO ADVANCE REGIONAL INTERESTS
Through the WGA, Western Governors form coalitions to express collectively their positions on matters of shared interest, and together advocate a western agenda before Congress and the executive branch of the federal government.
6. BUILD PUBLIC UNDERSTANDING AND SUPPORT FOR REGIONAL ISSUES AND POLICY POSITIONS
WGA provides timely information for media and the public through its annual convention, meetings, press releases, background papers, program newsletters and the Western Governors' Annual Report.