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Democratic Governors Select Gov. Tim Walz As Next DGA Chair

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Democratic Governors Select Gov. Tim Walz As Next DGA Chair 

Gov. Laura Kelly re-elected As Vice Chair, Gov. Phil Murphy will remain in leadership as Finance Chair

Today, America’s Democratic governors voted to elect Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz to serve as the new Chair of the Democratic Governors Association and Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly to continue to serve as DGA Vice Chair for 2024. The vote occurred at the DGA’s Annual Meeting, held in Phoenix, Arizona. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy will remain in DGA leadership as Finance Chair.

“I am honored to be the next chair of the Democratic Governors Association and I want to thank Gov. Phil Murphy and Gov. Laura Kelly for their leadership that helped the DGA break new fundraising and investment records to deliver a major win in Kentucky this year,” said DGA Chair Gov. Tim Walz. “In Minnesota, we’ve shown the country that when Democratic governors win, we deliver real results that directly benefit working families like expanding free school meals and expanding paid family and medical leave, while also standing up to protect reproductive rights and our democracy. I look forward to taking that record of winning and delivering to this role, and building on the DGA’s record of success as we have an exciting map of eleven governor’s races next year.”

“I’m pleased to continue serving the DGA as Vice Chair, especially as we head into this important election cycle,” said DGA Vice Chair Gov. Laura Kelly.“Democratic governors continue to prove that good policy is good politics by running – and winning – in some of the toughest states in the country. By focusing on the issues that matter most to the people of our states, we have delivered huge wins for working families. I look forward to building on the momentum of 2023 into 2024 and beyond.”

“It has been my honor to lead the DGA both this year and in 2020 and I am confident Gov. Walz and Gov. Kelly will continue building on our momentum after we invested a record of over $20 million to help re-elect Gov. Beshear in Kentucky this year,” said DGA Finance Chair Gov. Phil Murphy. “I am also thrilled to be staying in leadership as Finance Chair, as both major and grassroots donors in the Democratic party continue to recognize the importance of electing Democratic governors to address the biggest issues facing Americans while protecting our fundamental freedoms.”

BACKGROUND

Gov. Tim Walz’s career has been defined by public service, from serving our country in the military to serving Minnesota students as a high-school teacher and football coach to serving Minnesota in Congress.

First elected governor in 2018, Gov. Walz won his re-election in 2022 with a sweeping nearly 8% victory. Since then, he has enacted historic progress and reforms, which the Washington Post has called “The Minnesota Miracle.” His recent accomplishments in Minnesota include providing free school meals, protecting abortion rights, strengthening voting rights and expanding paid and medical leave for working families.

Born in a small town in rural Nebraska, Gov. Walz’s parents instilled in him the values that guide his commitment to common good and selfless service. Soon after his high school graduation, Gov. Walz enlisted in the Army National Guard. He attended Chadron State College and graduated with a social science degree in 1989. Harvard University offered Gov. Walz an opportunity to gain a new perspective on global education by teaching in the People’s Republic of China from 1989 to 1990, where he joined one of the first government-approved groups of American teachers to work in Chinese high schools. Upon his return from China, Gov. Walz served full time in the Army National Guard, and accepted a teaching and coaching position. More importantly, he met his future wife, Gwen Whipple, who was teaching at the same school.

Gov. Walz and Gwen Walz moved to Mankato in 1996, where they began working at Mankato West High School. In addition to teaching social studies, Gov. Walz helped coach the Mankato West football team that won the school’s first state championship. After 24 years in the Army National Guard, Command Sergeant Major Walz retired from the 1-125th Field Artillery Battalion in 2005.

Gov. Walz won his first election to the United States House of Representatives in 2006, and was re-elected for another five terms serving Minnesota’s First Congressional District.

Gov. Laura Kelly brings together both parties to get things done for Kansas. She has brought jobs, businesses, opportunities, and record economic success to Kansas. During Gov. Kelly’s first year as DGA Vice Chair in 2023, the DGA helped lead the charge to re-elect Gov. Andy Beshear in deep red Kentucky.

In her first term as governor, Gov. Kelly fulfilled her promise to put Kansas back on track after years of fiscal mismanagement, harmful budget deficits, and underfunded schools. She’s worked with both parties to balance the budget, fully fund schools, grow the economy, and rebuild the state’s infrastructure.Under Gov. Kelly’s leadership, Kansas has seen a record of over $17 billion dollars of investment in new business initiatives and the creation and retention of over 60,000 jobs, including the state’s largest economic development project in history with a $4 billion investment and 4,000 direct new jobs.

Previously, Gov. Kelly was executive director of the Kansas Recreation & Park Association and served in the Kansas Senate, where she built a reputation as a no-nonsense leader who worked with both Republicans and Democrats to build common ground and get things done.

After making history in her decisive second-term victory in a state Trump won in 2020, Gov. Kelly is building on her accomplishments and charting a bold agenda for Kansans.

Gov. Phil Murphy has been called a “pro-growth progressive” for his commitment to creating a stronger and fairer economy and making life more affordable for New Jersey families. In 2021, he made history by being the first Democratic governor re-elected in New Jersey in over 40 years and successfully led the DGA as Chair in both 2023 and 2020.

Since taking office in January 2018, Gov. Murphy has raised the minimum wage, enacted strong paid family leave and equal pay laws, made health care more affordable, and put the Garden State on a path to fully funding public schools. Under his leadership, New Jersey is a national leader on gun safety, and the state is moving towards a 100% clean energy future.

Prior to running for office, Gov. Murphy served as United States Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany under President Barack Obama. Gov. Murphy has served on numerous non-profit boards and has led a national task force on the future of education.

 

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