Out West (Presented by WGA)

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Out West (#18): Get to Know the Western Governors’ Foundation: Governors Dennis Daugaard, Steve Bullock, David Ige

The Western Governors' Foundation leverages the collective influence of former and current Western Governors to promote the welfare of the West. In this episode of Out West, WGA Executive Director Jim Ogsbury discusses the impetus behind the creation of the Foundation with current board Chair Dennis Daugaard, the former Governor of Idaho, and two of the Foundation’s sitting directors, Steve Bullock, the former Governor of Montana, and David Ige, the Governor of Hawaii. The group also highlights the merits of the Foundation’s regional art competition, Celebrate the West, and the Foundation’s new initiative, the Western Governors’ Leadership Institute.

Out West (#17): Electric Vehicles Roadmap Initiative, EVs in Rural Areas

Electric Vehicles in Rural Areas is the first episode in a series for the Electric Vehicles Roadmap Initiative of Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, which is focused on enhanced planning, siting and coordination of electric vehicle (EVs) infrastructure in the West. Consumer ownership of EVs is expanding across the West, but rural citizens face particular challenges with owning and operating the vehicles. Listen as WGA Policy Advisor Kevin Moss speaks with Alliy Sahagun, the Member Relations Supervisor at the Gunnison (CO) County Electric Association, and Roger Hoy, the Director of the Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory, about barriers, as well as solutions, to more ubiquitous adoption of electric vehicles in rural areas, including rural industries such as farming and ranching.

Invasive Species Data (#16): Conservation Districts

Invasive Species Data: Conservation Districts highlights the importance of invasive species data for conservation districts. The episode of Out West is the first in a series for WGA's Invasive Species Data Mobilization Campaign, which encourages land managers, landowners, conservation groups, and NGOs to standardize and share invasive species data in the West. Bill Whitacre, Senior Policy Advisor at WGA, speaks with Keith Owen, the South Central Region representative for the National Association of Conservation Districts, about the impact of invasive species on the work of conservation districts and why it is important to share invasive species data.

Out West (#15): An Inclusive Economic Recovery for All Americans

COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted people with disabilities and changed the work landscape in ways that present challenges and opportunities for disability employment. WGA Policy Associate Lauren Cloward speaks with Andrew Houtenville, Research Director of the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability, and Jill Houghton, President and CEO of Disabiity:IN, about how the pandemic has affected the workforce and ways to ensure an inclusive economic recovery for all Americans. 

Learn more about SEED’s ongoing work on disability employment by visiting its website.

Out West (#14): Technology for an Inclusive Workforce

Technologies with universal design and assistive technologies have increased opportunities for workers with disabilities and revolutionized everything from office to factory work. To learn more about some of these exciting developments and how their adoption can be accelerated through policy, WGA Policy Associate Lauren Cloward spoke with Aaron Bangor, Director of Compliance at AT&T and Chair of the Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities.

Learn more about SEED’s ongoing work on disability employment by visiting their website.

Produced by: Tyler Losier

Out West (#13): Reintroducing Natural Fire in Western Landscapes

Bill Whitacre, WGA Senior Policy Advisor, leads a conversation about the ways that fire can be used to restore western lands, as well as barriers to its expanded use. He speaks with Ron Goode, Tribal Leader of the North Fork Mono; Lenya Quinn-Davidson, Director of the Northern California Prescribed Fire Council; and Laura McCarthy, the New Mexico State Forester.

Produced by: Tyler Losier

Out West (#12): Bridging the Disability Employment Gap

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, WGA Policy Associate Lauren Cloward spoke with Bobby Silverstein, Legislative Counsel to the State Exchange on Employment and Disability (SEED), about the Work Matters policy framework, which serves as a repository of best practices for improving disability employment.

Lauren then explored the innovative ways the Work Matters framework is being used to achieve workforce inclusivity in states with Kristin Vandagriff, Executive Director for the Alaska Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education; Elizabeth Gordon, Executive Director for the Washington Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues and Employment; and Rob Hines, Director of the Washington State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Learn more about SEED’s ongoing work on disability employment by visiting their website.

Produced by: Tyler Losier

Out West (#11): Firefighting in the Era of COVID

WGA Senior Policy Advisor Bill Whitacre – himself a former wildland firefighter – and Aaron Thompson, State Fire Management Officer for the Bureau of Land Management in Montana and the Dakotas, discuss the challenges fire managers face during the 2020 wildfire season. In addition, they also explore new strategies and procedures to keep fire crews safe.

Produced by: Tyler Losier

Out West (#10): Exploring the 2020 Annual Report

This episode recaps the impactful, collaborative policy work of Western Governors over the past year and helps set the agenda for the year ahead. Join WGA Executive Director Jim Ogsbury in a conversation with Troy Timmons, WGA’s Director of Strategic Initiatives, Senior Policy Advisor Bill Whitacre, and Policy Advisors Ward Scott and Kevin Moss, about the wide-reaching impact Western Governors are having across the region.

Produced by: Tyler Losier

Out West (#9): Reimagining the Rural West Special Report

In this episode, WGA Executive Director Jim Ogsbury speaks with Policy Advisor Lauren DeNinno, who has led WGA’s work on the Reimagining the Rural West Initiative, to address the origins of Gov. Burgum’s policy effort and how it will inform Western Governors’ policy decisions moving forward. Ogsbury also talks with Troy Timmons, WGA’s Director of Federal Relations and Strategic Initiatives, who is leading WGA’s COVID-19 response, which includes a number of significant rural issues.

Produced by: Tyler Losier

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