This past week, Lt. Governor Habib joined fellow Lieutenant Governors, Senate Presidents, and Gubernatorial Successors at the National Lieutenant Governors Association Summer Conference hosted in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Lt. Governor opened the conference with a keynote speech on State Strategies in Education and Workforce, where he gave a presentation on Washington’s AP Access Fund Initiative, the project he spearheaded in February to ensure that for the first time, Washington’s low-income students could take AP and IB exams for free. The Lt. Governor discussed ways to use this successful initiative as a model for increasing access to higher education in states across the country.
On the second day of the conference, the National Lieutenant Governors Association and the Americans for the Arts held a national signing event of the State Military and Veterans Arts Initiative, pictured below. The purpose of the initiative is to increase support for service members across the military continuum, including active duty, reserve, veterans, family members, and caregivers, and to promote the positive role art can play in health and wellness.
At the conclusion of the conference, Lt. Governor Habib was appointed to the National Lieutenant Governors Association Executive Committee as Chair of the Western Region. In this role Lt. Governor Habib will work to promote the office of Lieutenant Governor around the country, support the National Lieutenant Governors Association through meeting and revenue development, and work to identify opportunities for Lieutenant Governors to work together on bipartisan issues, and cultivate a spirit of bipartisanship in the organization’s activities.
While in Nashville, the Lt. Governor also met with the leadership of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission to discuss Tennessee’s recent efforts to increase degree attainment in the state, and to share best practices on improving post-secondary education rates in states. In 2013, Governor Bill Haslam initiated a statewide push called “Drive to 55”, which established the state’s goal of increasing the percentage of adults with a post-secondary credential to 55%. To fulfill that goal, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission has focused on two primary programs: Tennessee Reconnect, and the Tennessee Promise. Tennessee Reconnect helps connect adult learners to flexible degree programs, offers a new set of online resources, and provides prospective students with guidance on degree pathways. The Tennessee Promise guarantees two years of tuition-free community or technical college to recent graduates of Tennessee high schools.
In addition to speaking at the NLGA conference and meeting with the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the Lt. Governor also toured the Tennessee State Capitol, and met with local elected officials including Lt. Governor Randy McNally, and Secretary of State Tre Hargett.