As an experienced advocate for Western issues such as energy, natural resources, public land use and water, R&R Partners was honored to attend the annual winter meeting of the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) in Las Vegas, Nevada, on December 4 and 5. Founded in 1984, WGA represents the governors of 19 Western states and guides them in developing and implementing policy decisions of major importance for the West.

Why are there specific associations that are dedicated to Western issues? With its abundance of natural resources, and the fact that over 90 percent of all federal land is located in the West, the region is one of the most highly regulated in the United States. This makes the West vastly different from the East, especially when it comes to controversial issues such as water and public land use. Nothing sums up water issues in the West better than the famous Mark Twain quote, “Whiskey is for drinking, but water is worth fighting over.”

WGA 3This year’s annual WGA meeting was attended by dozens of elected officials and political influencers, led by governors Matt Mead (Wyoming), Butch Otter (Idaho), Steve Bullock (Montana) and Brian Sandoval (Nevada). Important issues discussed that have serious implications on the West included drought, wildfires, endangered species, transportation and cybersecurity. The keynote address was delivered by the Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, who spoke of the importance in collaborating with the governors of Western states on key federal actions impacting the West.

R&R Partners’ depth of experience in the West gives it an understanding of the unique pressures and public scrutiny that governments and companies operating in the area face, and their need to communicate clearly and strategically to their constituents, customers, shareholders and regulators. Having opened its doors in the West and the fact that eight of its nine offices are still located in the area, R&R will continue participating in the ongoing conversation about Western policies and help bring together important stakeholders.

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