PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey took over because the chief of the nation’s nonpartisan governors ’affiliation on Friday in a time of deep divide between the states over points equivalent to abortion and gun management.
Murphy took the reins as chair of the Nationwide Governors Affiliation from departing head Asa Hutchinson, the Republican governor of Arkansas. Murphy will probably be tasked with fostering bipartisanship amongst members of the group whereas a few of them, equivalent to California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, are publicly feuding with one another.
The states are additionally within the midst of an period of state-against-state authorized battles over abortion entry. The affiliation assembly was held in Maine, the place Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has signed an govt order prohibiting state companies from cooperating with different states’ investigations into abortions. Hutchinson has signed off on a near-total ban of abortion for his state.
Members of the affiliation sounded a cooperative tone on the assembly, and Murphy inspired members to prioritize working collectively.
“I do not count on over the course of subsequent yr we’re going to take our hats off as Democrats and Republicans,” Murphy stated. “Do not forget that we’re partisans third, governors second and People foremost.”
The Nationwide Governors Affiliation additionally appointed a brand new vice chairman, Republican Utah Gov. Spencer Cox. The earlier vice chair was Murphy. Cox additionally acknowledged the necessity for much less partisan bickering.
“We combat about some actually silly (expletive) generally,” Cox stated to applause from the gang. “My level is our means to work collectively means a lot greater than the issues we combat about.”
The assembly was the primary of its variety held in individual since 2019, earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic. The correct response to the pandemic is one among a number of points that has divided governors over the previous two years.
The chasm between Democratic and Republican states has lately been widened by US Supreme Court docket rulings which have overturned Roe v. Wade and struck down gun restrictions in New York. The agenda at this week’s assembly of the governors averted such hot-button matters, focusing as a substitute on points equivalent to laptop science training and journey and tourism.
After the assembly was over, Murphy and Hutchinson agreed that some points, equivalent to abortion legal guidelines, will stay polarizing. However each stated the states can work collectively to serve the general public curiosity on quite a few different fronts.
“There’s going to be an inventory of issues we’re not going to seek out widespread floor on,” Murphy stated. “That can by no means preclude the NGA and its members from discovering widespread floor on the issues we do agree on.”
Hutchinson added that members ought to “do it in the appropriate tone and keep in mind what’s at stake” when confronting divisive matters.
The governors affiliation was based in 1908 and its members are the governors of the 55 states, territories and commonwealths. This yr’s assembly attracted throngs of demonstrators to Portland. Many have been criticizing the Roe v. Wade ruling and states which are transferring to finish or prohibit abortion entry.
Organizers stated 19 governors have been confirmed in attendance. DeSantis and Newsom weren’t amongst them.
The attendants included some who’re well-known of their states for working throughout the political aisle, equivalent to Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker and Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott. Cox, the Utah governor, has additionally signaled a willingness to work with Democrats on gun management, regardless of the actual fact it could possible meet resistance in his personal state.
Different high-profile governors who weren’t in attendance included Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. Some with nationwide profiles, together with Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland and Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker of Illinois, did attend. Republican Gov. Chris Sununu of neighboring New Hampshire was in attendance.
Mills, the Maine governor, delivered opening remarks on the occasion. It was the primary time the state had hosted the summer season assembly since 1983.
Mills is amongst a gaggle of Democratic governors that has issued govt orders to guard abortion suppliers and sufferers. Governors of Colorado, Rhode and Island and North Carolina have made related strikes.
On the similar time, a number of crimson states positioned new restrictions within the wake of the Supreme Court docket’s ruling. Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, who was in attendance on the governor’s assembly, has stated his govt order was about defending “North Carolina docs and nurses and their sufferers from merciless right-wing prison legal guidelines handed by different states.”