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Governor’s Conference attendees meet with President Biden

Governor's meet with Biden and Harris

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The nation’s governors met in the White House this past Friday with President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Cabinet members, and senior White House advisers to discuss economic issues, infrastructure investment and other bipartisan priorities.

White House officials in attendance included, Chief of Staff Jeff Zients, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Senior Advisors Mitch Landrieu, John Podesta, Gene Sperling and Julie Chavez Rodriguez.

This is outlined in a statement released by the National Governors Association.

The 45 governors at the White House meeting, including American Samoa Governor Lemanu P. S. Mauga, were attending the National Governors Association (NGA) Winter Meeting last week in Washington, D.C. where they discussed best practices and bipartisan collaboration on leading policy issues.

In a wide-ranging discussion, governors called on Congress and the Administration to work together to ensure a bipartisan solution to address the U.S. statutory debt ceiling and to consider serious long-term reforms that will reduce the national debt and put the country on more sustainable fiscal footing.

 “Opportunities as such bring leaders into one room with a common goal, to improve and to better the lives of our people.

 “I look forward to these discussions and bringing forth solutions for American Samoa,” Gov. Lemanu said.

President Joe Biden said they have a lot of work to do.

 “And quite frankly, you know, I think the success for all of us — Democrats and Republicans — is in part going to be measured by not what else we get done or passed, but what we — whether we’re able to implement what we’ve already done.

 “I know it’s a problem having to deal with all the money we’re sending you and I understand that.”

NGA Chair New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said as Governors, they have the responsibility of solving problems that affect each and every one of our states, “There are not Democratic problems or Republican problems, but issues that affect everyone.”

At the opening of the ceremony, Vice President Harris said, together they are a partnership for the benefit of the American people. 

 “And having a background as a state attorney general, I have some sense of the work that you all do every day in terms of meeting the needs of the diversity of your state, implementing policy in a way that actually hits the ground and has meaning and a direct impact on the families and in the individuals who you serve.  So, I thank you for your work. 

“From the very first days of our administration, during the height of the pandemic, I recall the many meetings by Zoom that we had with so many of you who are here, where you gave us a very accurate sense of what you needed and what the people of your state needed.”

The Vice President stated that definitely the priorities at the moment were formed by the immediacy of the pandemic. 

“And in conclusion, I’ll say that, for so many of us and certainly for me, I think that the theme of this year should be, for all of us, momentum. 

“And this is not a partisan point. There is so much good and important work that happened over the last two years as a very specific moment in time in our country. 

“An era, if you will, not just a political season.

 “And we are now at a point — we’re coming through the height of the crisis — but with the good work that has been done to deal with an immediate issue that required long-term thinking, we are now on the verge of building on that in a way that, together through a partnership, will benefit the people of our country for generations.”