With union in trouble, governors gathering in Maine

With the U.S. feeling like the 1850s, the nation’s governors are gathering here in Maine tomorrow for the National Governors Association summer meeting. But they’re not discussing how to deal with the inter-state ramifications of the Supreme Court’s repeal of women’s reproductive rights or certain gun control measures or the democratic backsliding in many states. As I reported in the Portland Press Herald Monday, the agenda is taking on smaller bore policy matters where the governors have been able to find common, bipartisan ground: enhancing computer science education in public schools, for example.

Here’s what David Pepper, author of Laboratories of Autocracy thinks: “At some point if governors were to come together and said that as a group we are going to take a stand against the spiraling down of democracy – that there will be certain standards and safeguards to democracy we’ll all hold to – they could play a massive role.”

But the host, Gov. Janet Mills (D-Maine), said that wasn’t happening: “I haven’t seen any proposals along those lines. The focus of these meetings was on the priorities of the governors themselves from the various states and those include education, computer science, and school opioid abuse.”

I’lll be covering the proceedings from here in Maine later this week. [Update, 7/15/22:] Here is my coverage of the first full day of the NGA meeting, which focused on enhancing computer science education and gave me an  opportunity to speak with the always compelling Dean Kamen, creator of this amazing facility that grows organs

[Update: 7/16/22:] Here is my coverage of the second and final day of the NGA meeting, wherein Dolly Parton showed up by video link to thanks governors for backing early childhood literacy; also governors deplored collapse of bipartisanship at some length. Favorite quote of meeting came from Utah Gov. Spencer Cox who said that on seeing the images from the new NASA space telescope he concluded “We fight about some really stupid shit sometimes.”