Montpelier, Vt. – The bipartisan Coalition of Northeastern Governors (CONEG) met in Washington, D.C. recently and unanimously elected Governor Phil Scott as chair for 2018.
CONEG – which includes governors from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island – is a non-partisan association of the Northeast states, encouraging intergovernmental cooperation on issues affecting the economic, social and environmental well-being of the Northeast.
“I’m honored to chair this bipartisan coalition of Northeastern governors, which plays an important role in building a stronger region and advocating for the shared interests of our states in Washington, DC,” said Scott. “Collaboration and coordination across our states is crucial to the strength of our communities and region, providing opportunities to grow our economies, make the region more affordable and competitive, confront the opioid epidemic and preserve our shared natural resources.”
Scott also announced that as chair, he’ll focus on identifying ways to make energy costs more affordable through regional coordination, launching the Energy Affordability Initiative. At Scott’s request, the governors have agreed to convene a task force with one delegate per member state.
The task force – which will be staffed by the Vermont Department of Public Service and CONEG – will work to identify specific action steps to improve energy affordability across the region, while meeting each state’s clean energy goals. It will receive input from stakeholders across the region and will present a report and recommendations to the governors when they convene at their summer meeting this August in Stowe, Vermont.
“In Vermont, I’ve committed to making the state more affordable, which includes addressing energy costs that have been growing faster than wages. High energy costs impact our entire region, and our ability to create more and better paying jobs, so this is a goal that the CONEG governors have coalesced around because we know it will help to improve the economic security of the residents in each of our states,” said Scott. “I look forward to working with my peers on this issue, and each of our regional priorities.”
In the coming year, the governors also focus on expanding clean energy in the region, passenger rail infrastructure, and NAFTA. The winter meeting was attended by Scott, as well as immediate-past chair Governor Gina Raimondo (D-RI), Governor Charlie Baker (R-MA) and Governor Dannel Malloy (D-CT).
To learn more about CONEG, visit www.coneg.org.