Government Update | August 2021

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In early July, President Joe Biden the Republican governors chosen by the weather to domestic and international named Gov. John Bel Edwards to the President’s Council of Governors, a 10-member bipartisan group focused on homeland security and who coordinate state-federal reactions from threats from pandemics to terrorism.

“It is an honor to join my fellow governors in serving as a critical link between the states and the federal government, especially as we face important issues like the COVID-19 pandemic, improving our physical and cyber infrastructure, and addressing the ongoing climate crisis, among other things,” Edwards said.

Edwards was one of nine governors the president named for a two-year term. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee is the 10th member. His term ends in 2022.

In addition to Edwards, the other Democratic governors named were John Carney of Delaware, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Kate Brown of Oregon and Tim Walz of Minnesota (co- chair). Spencer Cox of Utah, Phil Scott of Vermont, Mark Gordon of Wyoming 4 and Mike DeWine of Ohio (co-chair) are president.

The Council also includes Federal officials, such as the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, the Deputy Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs, the Commander of U.S. Northern Command, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security, the Commandant of the Coast Guard, and the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, among others.

The Council focuses on matters of homeland security, homeland defense, civil support, synchronization and integration of state and Federal military activities in the United States and other matters of mutual interest, including those involving the National Guard, according to a release from the White House.

“Federal-state cooperation is critical to protecting communities given the evolving challenges and threats facing our country, which range from extreme terrorism to a global pandemic,” the White House said. “The Council of Governors will closely coordinate with the Biden-Harris administration to bolster preparedness, resilience and response on behalf of all Americans in times of need.”

“I want to thank President Biden and the White House for trusting me with this role, and I pledge to continue working collaboratively with this administration and building on the strength of our partnerships to improve the lives of Louisianans and the resilience of our nation to global threats,” Edwards said.

He continued: “As has been made apparent over the past 16 months, the nation’s governors are at the forefront of handling many emerging threats and crises, and I applaud the White House’s commitment to clear, transparent communication with the states and incorporating the concerns of governors in the country’s response and resilience strategies. When government agencies at all levels work together, all of our people benefit.”