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State of the States: What Governors Are Focusing On in 2022

With elections on their minds, governors’ most watched policy speech of the year had some technology highlights, like luring tech companies and remote workers with robust broadband.

Note: Each year, we rate each governor's speech on a scale of 0 to 5, with 0 representing zero technology mentions and 5 awarded to states where a robust tech plan is outlined. As additional addresses are given, we’ll add them to this story.

Thirty-six states will hold elections for governor this fall, which makes 2022 an interesting year for State of the State addresses. Government Technology writers and editors review these speeches annually to see what they foretell for technology — an interesting exercise in a “normal” year. But in a year where more than two-thirds of governors will be voted up or down, politics often took center stage.

If governors have positive economic news to report, the State of the State address is a great place to share it. Budget surpluses and low unemployment rates — equal or almost equal to pre-pandemic levels — were touted by many governors, with many getting specific about their work to support the growth of industry and therefore job numbers within their borders. Manufacturing, technology and clean energy business development is especially coveted, based on these speeches.

As expected, many leaders got specific about the central nature of broadband expansion to their plans for their states to flourish. Interestingly, though, fewer seemed to feel it necessary to justify these investments — perhaps signaling broad acceptance by Americans of the essential nature of connectivity. Another interesting twist for 2022 was that more governors are pointing to robust connectivity as an integral part of their economic development strategies: Ubiquitous connectivity makes states more competitive in luring both new businesses and new workers. Gov. Polis in Colorado, Gov. Holcomb in Indiana and Gov. Ige in Hawaii, as of this writing, were explicit about plans to boost connectivity to ensure remote workers could thrive in their states.

Also on this year’s agenda is continuing to expand access to telehealth, which many governors now see as a critical part of a more accessible health-care system, especially to residents in areas with limited access to doctors and medical facilities. Many policies around the use of telemedicine were relaxed to observe COVID-19 protocols, exposing its benefits to whole new populations.

And speaking of the pandemic, it is less of a central theme in speeches this year, though there were scattered mentions of the need for in-person learning as well as celebrations of vaccine victories in states with successful programs. West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s COVID-19 diagnosis forced him to cancel his planned in-person speech, vowing a rain check when he is able. Known for an aggressive vaccine rollout, the state is the first in the country to seek approval for at-risk West Virginians to get a fourth dose of the vaccine.

We’ll update this story as additional addresses are delivered.

— Noelle Knell, Editor

Alabama State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 11, 2022
Stars: 1
To sum it up: Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s address focused heavily on investing in the state’s infrastructure, though direct references to technology were few. She challenged the Legislature to invest funds from the American Rescue Plan Act into statewide broadband connectivity, water and sewer infrastructure, as well as health-care institutions. She also noted the strong state of roads, bridges and ports in the state because of the Rebuild Alabama Act. She referenced the manufacture of EV batteries occurring in Alabama, which the state has previously recognized as a growing industry.

Another focus of Ivey’s address was the strength of the aerospace and aviation sector in the state and that Alabama is developing technologies to put the U.S. on top in space exploration. As evidence, she pointed to the U.S. Air Force’s decision to locate the permanent headquarters for the U.S. Space Command in the city of Huntsville.

In addition, she underlined the importance of investing in education, increasing the focus on elementary schools as the foundation for a quality education and advocated for expanded funding to math and science teachers as drivers of the “new economy.” She also proposed a four percent pay raise for state employees.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Alaska State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 25, 2022
Stars: 2
To sum it up: Alaska is ready to move past the pandemic and use such tools as broadband and clean energy to get there — and do so as it uses the resources of the present. That was among the main messages from Gov. Mike Dunleavy during his annual message. Like many other state leaders this year, he praised health-care workers, public safety professionals and community organizers for keeping residents safe during this era of COVID-19. But he also struck an urgent tone in asking Alaska to move forward — an effort in which technology will play a big part, at least as he envisioned it.

“We can’t dwell on yesterday, and we’re running out of tomorrows,” he said.

Even as Dunleavy called for more oil and natural gas production and blasted what he viewed as the Biden administration’s obstacles for the energy sector, the governor linked those concerns with the rise of cleaner forms of power. “For those who want us to invest in programs such as renewables, as I do, the cost of transition can only come from the revenue from our oil and gas,” he said.

Natural resources tend to color all issues in Alaska. That again proved true during the latter parts of the speech, when Dunleavy urged the state to think in terms of the technology transformations taking place in public agencies and economies globally. He predicts that Alaskans will be connected via high-speed Internet to anywhere in the world and foresees the state one day leading in drones and other technologies.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Arizona State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 10, 2022
Stars: 1
To sum it up: Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey delivered an ambitious eighth State of the State address in early January, calling on policymakers to keep the momentum going for his final year. In addition to brief references to a few tech-heavy policies in the speech, including broadband, cybersecurity, election security and telemedicine, he talked about reducing the state’s physical footprint by reducing office space by 750,000 square feet. And while Ducey didn’t connect the two in the speech, goals to shrink space needs were presumably helped by the large-scale adoption of remote work by the public sector over the past two years. Ducey also pointed to economic development wins like job growth in fields like AVs, EVs and technology manufacturing.

While pointing to the state’s fiscal strength, supported by a healthy budget surplus he intends to return to Arizona taxpayers, Ducey proposed a dramatic investment, $1 billion, in desalination technology to help support a sustainable water policy for the notoriously dry state.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Arkansas State of the State Address


Address date: Feb. 14, 2022
Stars: 1
To sum it up: In his Feb. 14 State of the State address, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson noted the state has made significant strides in terms of economic development, as communities across the country struggle to recover from a recession brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the state has signed 556 incentive agreements with employers like EnviroTech to bring over 25,000 new jobs to the state, adding that “81,000 more people are employed now” compared to when he took office in 2015.

Touching more on the state’s current job market and workforce training goals, Hutchinson noted the progress made by state policymakers to establish computer science courses in the state’s public schools in order to prepare graduates for an increasingly digitized job market. As of last year, the state reported it had increased computer science enrollment by more than 800 percent since the launch of its Computer Science Imitative in 2015. Hutchinson said the state is now “leading in computer science education” due in part to the state program, among other efforts geared toward “technology innovation."

Read the governor’s speech here.

California State of the State Address


Address date: TBD

Colorado State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 13, 2022
Stars: 2
To sum it up: In a year full of historic challenges, Colorado arguably faced more problems than other states when you account for late-season wildfires. During his State of the State address, Gov. Jared Polis highlighted community vaccination efforts and praised health-care workers as he urged state residents and lawmakers to come together to build a better future.

The future that Polis mapped out in his annual address includes a focus on a clean-energy economy and better transportation.

“We cut vehicle registration fees, saving people money, while making record investments in our rural roads, and new ways to transport people, goods, and services that will save Coloradans time and money, and put our state on a pathway to a cleaner, more sustainable transportation system,” Polis said.

During this era of pandemic-imposed remote work, Polis is pushing for the state to keep up with those trends, which will require the use of technology and closer attention to business practices.

“We are on track to reduce our state’s office space footprint by 1 million square feet over the next three years, cutting costs and improving employee retention and morale,” he said. “We’re implementing best practices from the private sector to save millions in contract negotiations. And by improving our digital services, we are becoming leaner, less bureaucratic and more convenient for the people of Colorado.”

The ongoing fight against climate change and future wildfires will also require more state investment in tools and technology, Polis argued, to help contain small incidents and better protect personnel on the front lines.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Connecticut State of the State Address


Address date: Feb. 9, 2022
Stars: 3
To sum it up: Gov. Ned Lamont called on state lawmakers and residents to make “the Connecticut difference” during his 2022 State of the State address, and he pointed to technology’s role in that a few times. Like many of his counterparts throughout the country, Lamont noted that his state is making concerted efforts to expand broadband access. He cited the new funding coming from the federal level via the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, promising that it would be used to bridge the digital divide throughout the state. He also pointed to Connecticut’s expansion of Wi-Fi connections in parks, schools and libraries “so you can do everything from Brooklyn, Conn., that you can from Brooklyn, N.Y.”

Gov. Lamont also alluded to technology when he outlined his plans for the state’s transportation systems. In addition to clean wind energy, Connecticut is investing in electric buses for its schools and cities to reduce air pollution. The state’s new budget also sets aside funding for hundreds of electric charging stations, in support of a goal of an all-electric state fleet. He also noted that the state will be investing in better security for its electric grid, both physically and on the cyber front.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Delaware State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 20, 2022
Stars: 2
To sum it up: Gov. John Carney’s sixth State of the State address was an optimistic one despite struggles presented by the pandemic over the past two years. He praised Delaware’s vaccination efforts and while he cited his top priority going forward as growing job opportunities and expanding economic opportunities for families, Carney did report that during the pandemic the state has added almost 20,000 new jobs and reduced unemployment to just above 5 percent. Part of that economic growth included a number of companies relocating to or investing in sites in the state, including two — biopharmaceutical firm Incyte and Prelude Therapeutics, which develops cancer treatments — that grew out of the Delaware Innovation Space, a partnership with the University of Delaware and DuPont to support tech startups. Carney also noted the “hyperfocus” his administration has targeted toward small business engagement with state government, including new technology companies.

Carney’s other major tech reference in this year’s address was the acknowledgement that almost 11,600 homes and businesses in Delaware lack high-speed Internet access. To address this, the state will direct more than $100 million in federal funding to ensure everyone has access to a hardwired broadband connection, particularly in Kent and Sussex counties. Other federal money will be used to build and upgrade libraries across the state and to develop and expand workforce training programs, including in middle and high schools. The governor plans to continue efforts made in the last year to devote more resources to low-income and English language learners in public schools. His administration will also work to address the ongoing housing crisis and fight substance abuse.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Florida State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 11, 2022
Stars: 1
To sum it up: For the governor of a state whose largest city seems destined to become a new tech hub, Gov. Ron DeSantis divulged little in the way of forward-looking technology projects in his 2022 state of the state speech for Florida. Instead he offered a list of grievances against political opponents both federal and local, regarding everything from inflation and vaccine mandates to school closures, classroom controversies, police funding and election security. While touching on education, DeSantis praised state apprenticeship programs that included technical subjects such as logistics and welding, and nodded in the direction of supply chain issues without mentioning any technological solutions.

A few references to state technology initiatives were retrospective. Since 2019, he said, the state has appropriated record funding to technology and research for mitigating blue-green algae and red tide, although he didn’t go into specifics. After accusing “big tech” of stifling dissent on social media, DeSantis said Florida was the first state to legislate against this, referring to the Stop Social Media Censorship Act of 2021, although the bill was promptly blocked by a federal court before going into effect. He also criticized tech companies for using people’s data without their consent and urged the state legislature to enact new laws aimed at data privacy.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Georgia State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 13, 2022
Stars: 1
To sum it up: Seeking re-election this year, Gov. Brian Kemp’s 2022 State of the State address sought to balance practical policy goals and political rhetoric, including plenty of concrete budget proposals and legal tweaks for various issues. Amidst these, the speech was devoid of any mention or acknowledgment of technology — the closest the governor came to that area was a call to allocate an extra $7 million to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to, among other things, upgrade equipment in its crime lab. Kemp spent the rest of his time praising educators, health-care workers and law enforcement for stepping up to especially difficult work during the pandemic and highlighting new spending in their respective areas. That included raises for K-12 teachers and staff as well as state troopers, boosting higher education programs and other initiatives to add to their respective workforces. Other policies Kemp outlined in his speech include increasing censorship in school libraries, expanding Medicaid coverage for new mothers and making it harder for people charged with human trafficking to get bail.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Hawaii State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 24, 2022
Stars: 3
To sum it up: Hawaii Gov. David Ige opened his State of the State address by commending the state's expeditious response to another year in the COVID-19 pandemic. He emphasized the importance of having accurate and reliable data and a comprehensive contact tracing network to prevent the spread of the virus. The governor’s speech focused on public health, economic recovery, and broadband expansion.

The governor acknowledged the state’s economic dependency on the tourism industry and stressed that going forward, Hawaii must invest in its digital economy to keep up with the rise in remote work and demand for digital skills. Gov. Ige went on further to even say that the pivot to a digital economy is necessary for building a foundation for economic resilience. He noted that diversifying the economy through technology will ultimately contribute to higher wages and a higher quality of life.

The pandemic highlighted the digital inequity in Hawaii and to combat that, the governor announced the creation of a statewide broadband network and outlined how he would direct federal funding toward broadband expansion initiatives. For example, a pilot project to connect Hawaii’s rural communities to a broadband service in Puna, Kaʻu, Hana, Nānākuli, Waiʻanae, Waimānalo, Kalihi and Kapaʻa is just one of myriad initiatives underway. Furthermore, he unveiled a telehealth initiative to connect low-income patients with high medical risks to healthcare providers by leveraging funding from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Lastly, Gov. Ige announced that his legislative package includes a bill to create a Broadband and Digital Equity Office to oversee all these efforts. The office will play a crucial role in securing Hawaii’s share of $7 billion in new federal funds for broadband infrastructure and digital equity programs.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Idaho State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 10, 2022
Stars: 2
To sum it up: In a politically charged State of the State address, Gov. Brad Little kicked off his comments with a laundry list of gripes with the Biden administration that stretched from the economy and inflation to the handling of the U.S.-Mexico border and vaccine mandates. His remarks were mostly based on the broad issues facing his state, and technology was not a primary focus. His tone and tenor shifted slightly when he began discussing a proposal for $50 million in grants to meet the educational needs of children and families. These grants, Little said, would help families purchase computers, Internet service and other necessities outside the classroom. Investments are also being proposed around cybersecurity to the tune of $12 million for the creation of a Cyber Response and Defense Fund. Little said this money would go toward protecting election integrity from bad actors in Russia, China and other parts of the world. He did not elaborate on how the fund would be managed.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Illinois State of the State Address


Address date: Feb. 2, 2022
Stars: 1
To sum it up: Gov. J.B. Pritzker delivered his third State of the State address this year surrounded by first responders as a major snowstorm began to sweep through his state. Within this setting, Pritzker opened his remarks by addressing the ongoing pandemic and continuing challenges, and shared gratitude for the sacrifices health-care workers continue to make. From there the speech segued into discussion of Illinois’ economy, as well as of the state government’s credit situation.

Direct mentions of technology, however, were sparse. Pritzker discussed law enforcement in the state, noting an investment in a new state-of-the-art crime lab, as well as increased funding for police body cameras. In addition, the governor also noted that the state is awarding grants to community organizations that use data-driven violence prevention efforts to help ease the direct burden on the state’s police departments. The other area where tech was mentioned was in reference to electric vehicles, with Pritzker also noting that there were incentives in place for electric car manufacturers, as well as a standing $4,000 rebate for consumers who purchase the vehicles.

Finally, the governor also mentioned modernizing broadband, a topic directly discussed last year during an address that more directly discussed technology. While Pritzker mentioned ongoing broadband modernization as one of his administration’s priorities, there was no elaboration past that.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Indiana State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 11, 2022
Stars: 3
To sum it up: This year marked Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s sixth State of the State address, and during his remarks, Holcomb worked to strike a tone of optimism and recovery, while also sharing several specific mentions of tech. A main focus of the speech was Indiana’s state budget, with Holcomb sharing information about Indiana’s debt management and budget reserves. That segment of the speech lightly touched on technology, with Holcomb noting that Indiana was well-positioned to be home to future-forward industries, including cybersecurity, quantum computing, and drones, among others. Relatedly, Holcomb also stressed the importance of Indiana recruiting more remote workers to the state. One of the most prominent mentions of tech was when he discussed the creation of a new data dashboard to share public data around school performance in the state, as well as an online marketplace for teacher job openings. That’s part of a wider online employment initiative to proactively connect employers and potential employees, wherein 240 employers and 16,000 people have now created profiles. Like many other states, however, the biggest focus on tech had to do with broadband. Holcomb noted his administration is making the largest broadband investment in Indiana’s history through continued support of the Next Level Connections program, which has totaled $350 million. That program is aimed at connecting more state residents to high-speed Internet at home.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Iowa State of the States Address

Address: Jan. 11, 2022
Stars: 1
To sum it up: For the majority of her State of the State address, Gov. Kim Reynolds relied upon some familiar partisan talking points: She commiserated with Iowans about the complexity of tax brackets and proposed a 4 percent flat tax rate. She also implied the unemployment system as it stands disincentivizes work, reassuring citizens that something can be done to right this wrong.

Technology took a clear back seat to such ideas. Terms like broadband, telehealth and computer science were mentioned only briefly. However, in the final third of her speech, Reynolds homed in on energy policy, explaining how Iowa’s industry can bring attention back to renewables, a topic that has been overlooked, in her view, in favor of the electric vehicle movement. Outside of this interesting argument, the address failed to give tech much spotlight, even during her remarks about the importance of business and education — two areas where tech keeps playing a bigger and bigger role.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Kansas State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 11, 2022
Stars: 1
To sum it up: When Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly came into office she formed the Office of Broadband Development, which has gone on to connect some 50,000 homes and businesses to the Internet.

“We won’t stop until every Kansan who wants, or needs, high-speed Internet has access to it,” Kelly told the Legislature in her State of the State address on Jan. 11.

Kelly also called for more funding and other resources for public K-12 education, pledging full funding for schools for the fourth year in a row. Kelly also announced a bipartisan agreement to direct $50 million toward Learning Recovery Grants to help students who have fallen behind, particularly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These grants will give parents the ability to sign their kids up for counseling, tutoring, summer camps, whatever their child needs to close the learning gap,” said Kelly. “We can’t turn back the clock on the last two years, but we can lay out the path to support parents and put students in the best position to find success.”

Read the governor’s speech here.

Kentucky State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 5, 2022
Stars: 1
To sum it up: In his third State of the State address since taking office, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear touched on tech when discussing the strength of the state’s economy. He noted that Kentucky saw an increased investment in electric vehicle production within its borders, with Ford Motor Company and its partner SK Innovation announcing plans to build the largest EV battery plants in the U.S. there. Beshear estimated that this would provide $6 billion and 5,000 new jobs to bolster the state’s economy. He also pointed to Toyota’s $461 million EV investment in the state, which represents an addition of 1,400 jobs.

Gov. Beshear also touted the expansion of other technology companies in Kentucky, including a $450 million investment and 1,000 new jobs by GE Appliances, and almost double that from Amazon. Fiber product manufacturer Ahlstrom-Munksjö also chose to invest in Kentucky, opening a second facility there with a $70 million investment and 50 new jobs. Agritech also came up in Beshear’s speech, when he discussed AppHarvest’s planned expansion to four additional Kentucky cities. And he rounded out with mention of telecommunications company Rajant and manufacturer Novelis and their investments and expansions within the state.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Louisiana State of the State Address


Address date: March 14, 2022

Maine State of the State Address


Address date: February 10, 2022
Stars: 1
To sum it up: Gov. Janet Mills started her state of the state address with a stark look at the lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic — from jobs and cost of living to education and frontline workers. Technology, though, was not a prominent part of her comments. As one might expect of the state with the oldest populations, the workforce shortage and young people leaving for other opportunities was a focal point of the governor’s remarks. The pronounced need for access to affordable broadband service tied into this point. Mills called access to Internet service “as fundamental as electricity, heat and water.” She highlighted the state’s $15 million investment in expanding access and the creation of the ConnectMaine Authority, which she said will be instrumental to connecting every Mainer who wants service by 2024. This effort, she said, will also be supported by American Rescue Funds.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Maryland State of the State Address


Address date: Feb. 2, 2022
Stars: 1
To sum it up: Gov. Larry Hogan delivered his seventh State of the State address in early February, reflecting at the end of his two terms on various policy areas he characterized as having improved during his tenure. On that list alongside education investments and improved health-care coverage was infrastructure, including “historic investment” in spreading connectivity to all residents.

As it relates to COVID-19, Hogan boasted of the state’s leading testing infrastructure, built from the ground up, and various other pandemic-related efforts, including what he called a first-in-the-nation equity program focused on getting vaccines to underserved residents. Acknowledging the virus’s continued impact, he declared the end of Maryland’s state of emergency on COVID-19.

Much of the speech was focused on economic measures like tax cuts and what he called “job-killing regulations,” projecting continued economic stability for the state, with a balanced budget a multi-billion-dollar surplus and an even larger balance in the state’s rainy-day fund. He proposed taking additional tax-cutting steps going forward, including urging legislators to zero out state retirement taxes for Marylanders.

Another major area of focus was on combatting violent crime, focusing on recent homicides in Baltimore. As a part of a $500 million Re-Fund the Police Initiative, Hogan mentioned the need to expand the use of bodycams and equip law enforcement properly with technology and additional tools.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Massachusetts State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 25, 2022
Stars: 1
To sum it up: In his eighth and final State of the Commonwealth address ahead of his successor’s election later in 2022, Gov. Charlie Baker first reflected on his seven years so far leading Massachusetts. In particular, he pointed to an effort spearheaded by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito that delivered last-mile broadband to 53 counties in Western Massachusetts, as well as expanded STEM programming for students at all levels.

Baker’s remarks on his plans for the coming year didn’t specifically mention technology, but he reported that the state is in a strong position to grow into the future. He wants to improve public safety, particularly for those suffering from domestic violence. The governor aims to expand access to mental health services, an endeavor the administration started before the onset of COVID-19 but which he now says is more essential than ever, including telehealth services, which have been codified into law. A new climate proposal seeks to grow offshore wind resources and create a $750 million Clean Energy Innovation Fund, and Baker mentioned plans to file a transportation bond bill that would take advantage of federal funding from the infrastructure package passed in late 2021. The governor closed his speech by stressing the importance of building trust in government, an endeavor made more difficult by social media and the 24-hour news cycle, as well as growing strong relationships and strong communities.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Michigan State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 26, 2022
Stars: 3
To sum it up: In her fourth state of the state address to Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer touched upon the importance of technology investments from both the state and federal government, as well as the private sector. She started by mentioning that the location from which she was giving her speech, Detroit Diesel, is now the home of cutting-edge electric vehicle technology. EVs were a subject she returned to more than once.

Speaking about infrastructure, Whitmer mentioned the sizable task of expanding high-speed Internet using funds from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, although she didn’t elaborate. Access to broadband has been critical for families for remote learning during the pandemic, but her only reference to that was to point out that it’s less fulfilling and conducive to growth than in-person instruction.

After praising the $7 billion investment by General Motors to support EV battery manufacturing, she singled out EVs as an industry worthy of public policy support too, something that would help the state maintain its manufacturing heritage while transitioning to clean energy. She proposed to pass a $2,500 rebate for EVs, involving a $2,000 rebate for the car and $500 for in-home charging equipment, on top of the federal government’s $7,500 credit.

Toward the end of the speech, Whitmer also implored the federal government to pass the CHIPS for America Act, which would allocate billions to the manufacture of semiconductors needed for microchips.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Minnesota State of the State Address


Address date: TBD

Mississippi State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 25, 2022
Stars: 0
To sum it up: With the first part of his speech, Gov. Tate Reeves highlighted a number of education successes in Mississippi: nation-leading test score gains, an all-time high graduation rate and a record low dropout rate. Notably, Reeves then seemed to criticize technology with the suggestion that teachers who use Zoom as part of distance learning aren’t saying “yes” to education.

Reeves didn’t spend much time on tech again until the final stretch of his speech, when he praised a mobile welding training program for inmates, an initiative that shows promise in terms of reducing the state’s recidivism rate. The rest of the speech centered on familiar topics, from rising crime in Jackson, the state capital, to the pro-life efforts of the state Legislature. Despite the fact that Mississippi has been seeing historic investment in broadband infrastructure among its electric cooperatives, Reeves never mentioned the subject of Internet access.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Missouri State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 19, 2022
Stars: 0
To sum it up: Missouri Gov. Mike Parson didn’t mention any specific technology initiatives in his State of the State speech, but praised the state’s economy that held steady during the pandemic and the fact that 95 percent of schools continued to offer in-person learning all while Missouri citizens were getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

More than 94 percent of Missourians over the age of 65 have been vaccinated and Parson called that one of the state’s great successes. Overall, nearly 75 percent of Missourians over the age of 18 have been vaccinated. Parson credited a tireless effort by agencies, including the Department of Health and Senior Services; the State Emergency Management Agency; the Missouri National Guard; the department of Public Safety; and countless health-care professionals.

And even as the economy thrives and students get an in-person education, Parson said it’s not enough. Unemployment is at 3.5 percent, which is below what it was before the pandemic, Parson said. He added that the state must make lasting investments in continuing education programs to ensure that the next generations have jobs, and to that end, the governor is requesting $31 million for colleges and universities.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Montana State of the State Address


No speech given this year.

Nebraska State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 13, 2022
Stars: 1
To sum it up: Nebraska Gov. Pet Ricketts’ State of the State speech this year was full of praise for how the state has weathered the COVID-19 pandemic, with high vaccination rates and no lockdowns, allowing residents to stay at work and in school, it was light on technology mentions. Notably the governor did the point to passage of the Nebraska Rural Broadband Bridge Act., an effort of the Telecommunications and Transportation Committee that Ricketts said will bring high-speed broadband to 30,000 more homes across the state. He also noted infrastructure improvements to Omaha’s historic district, including high-speed fiber upgrades.

Elsewhere, Ricketts outlined four priorities for the coming legislative session that he believes will keep Nebraska moving forward. These include tax relief and limiting budget growth; strengthening public safety efforts, from pay increases for first responders to upgrading the state’s crime lab; securing Nebraska’s water supply; and responsibly spending the $1.04 billion the state has been allocated from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Nevada State of the State Address


No speech given this year.

New Hampshire State of the State Address


Address date: Feb. 17, 2022
Stars: 1
To sum it up: In this year’s State of the State address, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu touched on several topics, including the state’s economy and response to COVID-19, implementing mental health services and several technology initiatives. Sununu pointed to cutting statewide property taxes by $100 million, phasing out the state’s interest and dividends tax, and cutting business taxes as having been positive forces for the state's economy. Because of these efforts, the state’s tax revenue exceeded all surplus estimates, allowing the state’s rainy-day fund to double to $250 million.

As for dealing with COVID-19, Sununu said, “We came together, cut red tape and flexed open our health care system to meet our citizen’s needs.” Examples include delivering over 1.5 million free rapid tests to households across the state, building out internal surge centers at local hospitals, fast-tracking licensing for nurses, and deploying federal dollars to support the state’s health care and long-term care providers.

Regarding mental health services, Sununu issued an executive order to provide individuals suffering from a mental health crisis with timely and appropriate medical care. Other efforts include signing a purchase agreement to buy Hampstead Hospital to offer dedicated services for children who need access to high-quality mental health providers, providing mobile crisis support and creating a 24/7 crisis call center.

In terms of technology, Sununu discussed three initiatives: To expand broadband, the state extended access to 4,500 hard-to-reach households. To make New Hampshire greener, a Department of Energy was formed this year, and funds were directed to the Office of Offshore Wind Industry Development. And regarding net metering, the state passed a bipartisan bill to protect ratepayers, advance clean energy, and help cities and towns choose their energy future.

Read the governor’s speech here.

New Jersey State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 11, 2022
Stars: 2
To sum it up: For the second year in a row, Gov. Phil Murphy delivered his State of the State address to an empty auditorium due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He centered on the topic of the pandemic, noting the accomplishment of 75 percent of the state population having received two vaccine doses. The state has implemented a data-driven approach to public health — from increasing accessibility of health insurance by identifying and addressing the barriers for lower costs to addressing the opioid epidemic and closing gaps in treatment.

Murphy also underlined the state’s work on improving the economy — from lower property taxes to reduced taxes for the middle class to a steady increase in the minimum wage. He underlined the state’s leadership in online gaming and sports betting. Prior to the pandemic, New Jersey had reached its lowest unemployment rate in state history; while the pandemic has impacted that rate, he noted the value of investments in small businesses to help to bring unemployment back down to those historic levels. Also under the heading of economic development, Murphy cited the creation of 3,000 jobs in the past year in the financial technology sector. He also underlined the importance of the Innovation Evergreen Fund, a public-private partnership that will bring investment to support technology startups in the state.

Read the governor’s speech here.

New Mexico State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 18, 2022
Stars: 1
To sum it up: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham used her annual address to encourage lawmakers, officials and residents to look past the pandemic and get behind efforts to bring more high-paying jobs to New Mexico — an effort that is certain to involve the intersection of state government and technology. Direct references to technology were scarce in Grisham’s speech, but it was clear that tech will play a major role in her plans. For instance, the governor said that “clean hydrogen will support thousands of jobs, especially in rural New Mexico,” as the state works toward its goal of reducing carbon — and decarbonizing the transportation sector — to combat climate change. She also touted work to provide free education to state residents so that New Mexico gains the types of skilled workers interested in building what she called “21st century careers.”

Public safety also earned significant focus in the speech. Grisham supports raises for law enforcement workers and a 19 percent budget increase to the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, in part to fund “innovative new crime fighting strategies.” While she did not go into detail, innovation in public safety these days almost always involves new or enhanced technology of some sort.

Read the governor’s speech here.

New York State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 5, 2022
Stars: 1
To sum it up: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has only been in her seat for about five months after taking over in the wake of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s scandal-driven resignation in August. In her first State of the State address she focused on her personal story and her big-picture goals, tending to highlight dollar amounts and people affected over specific implementation plans. To that end, her speech did not include much mention of technology — in fact, it was virtually absent from her words, save a brief aside to state that she plans to spend $1 billion on expanding broadband access with an emphasis on rural areas. Citing Franklin D. Roosevelt as an inspiration — he served as governor of New York himself before ascending to the presidency — Hochul outlined a number of spending priorities she hopes to use to help the state recover economically from the COVID-19 pandemic. Those included accelerating a $1.2 billion tax cut, as well as tax changes benefitting homeowners, farmers and small businesses. She also proposed a new rail line connecting Brooklyn and Queens, the creation of a “jails to jobs” program, and $500 million for offshore wind power. Finally, promising to seek results rather than credit, Hochul proposed several accountability changes, including term limits for statewide officials and the creation of a new ethics watchdog organization.

Read the governor’s speech here.

North Carolina State of the State Address


Address date: TBD

North Dakota State of the State Address


Address date: Feb. 16, 2022

Ohio State of the State Address


Address date: TBD

Oklahoma State of the State Address


Address date: Feb. 7, 2022
Stars: 2
To sum it up: Gov. Kevin Stitt opened his speech by praising Oklahoma’s willingness to stay open for business and to watch spending during the pandemic. After pointing to a record low unemployment rate of 2.3 percent, Stitt talked about how Oklahoma’s business-friendly approach attracted an electric vehicle manufacturer that has brought thousands of jobs to the state. The implication of Stitt’s EV example is that solid business principles will lead to more high-tech industry.

Stitt mentioned how technology investments have allowed Oklahoma to still operate with 2,000 fewer state employees. He also announced that all state agencies will benefit from a unified human resources system that will launch in May, and he seemed to suggest that tech will play a role in helping citizens interact with government, namely when residents need to update their driver’s license and vehicle registration. Finally, Stitt teased investments in drone corridors and emerging mobility but didn’t provide detail about how these things would shape the future of the state.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Oregon State of the State Address


Address date: Feb. 3, 2022
Stars: 1
To sum it up: Gov. Kate Brown began her final State of the State address on an optimistic note by highlighting Oregonians’ strength and perseverance despite the myriad challenges presented since she took office seven years ago. She listed some of the state’s accomplishments which included a stronger economy, lower unemployment rates, a rise in family incomes and a collective determination to build an equitable Oregon. Moreover, she focused on supporting working families by expanding workforce opportunities, affordable housing and childcare, and combating climate change.

The governor summed up her plan to bolster workforce training with Future Ready Oregon, a $200 million investment in job training with an emphasis on three industries: health care, technology and manufacturing, and construction. Brown also asked the Legislature to join her in supporting an additional $400 million investment in affordable housing and a $100 million investment in childcare.

Brown planned to approach the issue of climate change with an equity lens, recognizing that people of color, low-income households and rural communities are the most impacted. She noted that there are established targets for reducing carbon emissions and an effort to expand electric vehicle infrastructure.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Pennsylvania State of the State Address


Address date: Feb. 8, 2022
Stars: 1
To sum it up: In his final budget address, Gov. Tom Wolf recounted efforts during his tenure to dig out Pennsylvania from a fiscal hole while also looking ahead. Though he barely made direct mention of technology, his speech did touch upon areas where the state can improve its technological innovation and investments.

For starters, he told listeners that the state needs to essentially honor its traditional economic strengths and keep developing new sources of revenue and jobs.

“We’re strong in manufacturing, in natural resources, in human capital,” Wolf said. “We’ve seen explosive growth in traditional industries like tourism and agriculture, and in cutting-edge industries like robotics, life sciences, and petrochemicals.”

Wolf called upon state lawmakers to make sure they keep putting money into areas that will further help the state grow its technological efforts. He noted existing investments in secondary and higher education STEM education, as well as career and technical programs.

Like other governors this year, Wolf also went beyond education and urged a focus on other areas where the state can use technology to both increase economic benefits and protect the environment. He called for more investment in clean energy and infrastructure programs — along with more attention to fighting the opioid crisis and raising the minimum wage — so that the state will not be left behind over the next generation.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Rhode Island State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 18, 2022
Stars: 1
To sum it up: Rhode Island is ready to invest $2.1 billion from the federal infrastructure package in some 100 projects, Gov. Daniel McKee told the state legislature in his state of the state address on Jan. 18. The governor is also proposing new investments in education, with over $430 million for the construction of education facilities for kindergarten through higher education.

To address climate change, McKee is building on a law he signed last year to require the state to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. He said his proposed budget will include significant funding for projects to combate climate change. In partnership with the University of Rhode Island, McKee wants to make the state a leader in ocean technology research in a move to increase port capacity and expand the generation of offshore wind power.

“Let’s also invest in aquaculture, including seafood processing, so we no longer need to ship so much of our calamari out of state to prepare it for sale,” said McKee. “As Rep. [Joseph] McNamara would say, that really is a ‘Calamari Comeback.’”

Happening alongside these developments is the buildout of a statewide network of electric vehicle charging stations.

Read the governor’s speech here.

South Carolina State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 19
Stars: 2
To sum it up: Gov. Henry McMaster’s 2022 State of the State address covered a wide range of topics, praising in particular South Carolina’s population growth and corresponding economic expansion. He briefly touched on the importance of technology in a few places, calling broadband a top priority, recognizing its importance to at-home workers and proposing putting $400 million in federal funding toward expanding high-speed Internet. He also called for the Department of Education to put information online covering how every education dollar is spent, and asked for $21 million in grants to help police departments purchase body-worn cameras and bulletproof vests. Aside from that, the governor also called for increased spending on roads and bridges, water systems, and salary raises for state workers. Other proposals included better mental health services for young people, a new team to audit elections processes at the local level and expansion of the charter school system.

Read the governor’s speech here.

South Dakota State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 11, 2022
Stars: 2
To sum it up: Gov. Kristi Noem’s annual speech highlighted cybersecurity as an important economic sector and touched several times on the state’s plans to help residents prepare for careers in that field. In particular, she announced that it would invest $30 million in building out Dakota State University’s cybersecurity program. Other efforts start younger, with some middle and high school students getting introduced to cybersecurity through a national program called Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG). That program aims to provide academic and career support to students who face challenges to graduating.

Gov. Noem also had news for South Dakotans who are already in the workforce. She touted Missouri-based battery manufacturer AEsir Technologies’ plans to open a factory in South Dakota and asserted that it would provide “good-paying high-tech jobs.” The company anticipates employing up to 400 people over five years.

The governor also praised the ability of telehealth to make care more accessible to residents of the state. She noted that she signed a bill last year that permanently enshrined certain telehealth flexibilities that had been launched during the pandemic’s outbreak, and that her budget “expands telehealth to our emergency responders” (it provides for connecting hospital staff with EMS personnel). At the same time, Gov. Noem also imposed some limits, citing her executive order banning telemedicine abortions.

Gov. Noem also gave a nod to a U.S. News & World Report ranking that placed South Dakota near the top for its renewable energy use. The latest published data evaluates states on the share of their 2018 energy consumption that came from renewable sources; South Dakota took fourth place.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Tennessee State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 31, 2022
Stars: 3
To sum it up: While endorsing the idea of small government, Gov. Bill Lee’s fourth State of the State address to Tennessee nevertheless made several commitments and suggestions for state spending on technology, mostly concerned with education and energy innovation. Talk of school funding was a significant part of the address, during which Lee mentioned $1 billion in new, recurring education spending that would include a one-time investment in career and technical education. He charged the state with making sure kids have “tailored options” in subjects like technology, engineering and technical training; recommended legislation to make computer science and coding available to every high school student; and committed to spending $200 million on expansions of the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology, the state’s public college system.

Hoping to capitalize on the University of Memphis’ recent designation by the Carnegie Classification as a top research university, Lee proposed to spend $50 million to make the university “a global leader in agri-tech, cybersecurity and the digital workforce.” He proposed another $70 million to complete the Oak Ridge Innovation Institute with programs in data science, technology, advanced materials and other subjects.

Stressing the importance of energy innovation, Lee praised nuclear power for helping the state land major economic projects with its dependability and relatively low cost. He said the state is working with the Tennessee Valley Authority on a long-term strategy to develop a nuclear site at the Clinch River for power production.

Read the governor's speech here.

Texas State of the State Address


No address this year.

Utah State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 20, 2022
Stars: 1
To sum it up: Utah Gov. Spencer Cox boasted of a state in an enviable financial position, with low unemployment and a record-breaking budget surplus. The speech was very light on technology, however, lacking even a mention of the broadband investments that many state chief executives gave airtime to in their addresses. Cox did touch on a lot of policies intended to spread opportunity to all corners of the state, including supporting the development of startup companies. He also expressed a desire for Utah to lead the nation in developing sustainable energy, buoyed by the presence of 80 percent of “critical minerals” within its borders.

Cox also spoke out strongly in support of election integrity, blasting “unsubstantiated claims and flat-out lies” around elections, again calling on Utah to lead the way on ethical practices that restore, rather than chip away at, our democracy. Similarly, he cautioned against any measures restricting voting access disguised under the heading of election security. “Voting security must never be about making it harder for legal voters to vote,” he said.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Vermont State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 5, 2022
Stars: 1
To sum it up: While Gov. Phil Scott’s State of the State address this year was positive, focused on continuing to build a strong economy and quality of life for residents, his speech was light on technology. He noted that while last year he asked the Legislature for $1 billion to expand broadband coverage, it was only partially funded; the governor plans to ask for the remainder of that in 2022. Scott also included broadband in his praise of $600 million that Vermont dedicated last year to infrastructure improvements, climate change and housing, half of which, he said, has already been released. In the coming year, the governor also hopes to expand the state’s Capital Investment Grant Program created in 2022 to help companies like aerospace firm Beta Technologies, based in Vermont, become global leaders and attract more workers.

Building Vermont’s workforce was a major theme of Scott’s speech, and he attributed a worker shortage in part to the state’s high cost of living as well as the ongoing pandemic. Internship and apprenticeship programs have been successful in providing job experience and building local connections for Vermont’s talent pipeline, and Scott is passionate about growing the pool of residents in trades like trucking and electrical work, as without those groups the state won’t be able to support other occupations, like health-care workers. Other areas of focus for Scott included quality, affordable housing for middle-income families, continuing to build a strong education system and improving mental health services.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Virginia State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 17
Stars: 1
To sum it up: Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s first address to the Virginia General Assembly as governor, in which he elaborated on many of the points touched on in his inaugural address, was light on mentions of technology. He pledged to connect rural parts of the state to high-speed broadband, something many of his peers also touted as a priority. However, he did not offer any details at the time on his plans for doing so. Youngkin also voiced his support for mega-sites to draw investment from companies like electric vehicle battery manufacturers to the state. Additionally, he discussed the creation of a commonwealth chief transformation officer position, with the goal of making Virginia government “more responsive, more efficient and more transparent.” Though he did not mention it specifically, technology could very well play a role in such efforts.

Youngkin also stated that a focus of his administration would be to improve the state’s infrastructure, including making the power grid more resilient to extreme weather events. He also called for an investment of $100 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds for a law enforcement training and equipment grant program.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Washington State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 11, 2021
Stars: 1
To sum it up: In this year’s State of the State address, Gov. Jay Inslee began his speech by emphasizing the importance of taking action to address the state’s economic and social disparities, education, climate change, and transportation. To improve some of those issues, Inslee expressed that within his supplemental budget, he will include $815 million to invest in safe housing for those experiencing homelessness and create more options for those struggling with housing availability. Regarding education, he discussed the pandemic's hardships on educators and students, resulting in $900 million being put toward schools to help increase the number of counselors, nurses, psychologists and social workers available to serve K-12 students.

As for improving the environment, Inslee pointed to legislation as being key to help reduce emissions, modernize regulations, incentivize the industry to provide clean energy projects and make electric vehicles more affordable within the state. He also touched on companies like Eviation in Arlington, making the world’s first all-electric commuter airplane; Vicinity Motor Corp in Ferndale manufacturing electric buses; the expansion of new solar farms in eastern Washington; and net-zero buildings such as Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle and the Catalyst building in Spokane.

Lastly, the governor emphasized the importance of improving transportation by providing nearly $1 billion to fund clean transportation programs and activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transit sector and preserve the state’s infrastructure while supporting critical investments to improve ferry service reliability.

Read the governor’s speech here.

West Virginia State of the State Address


Address date: Jan. 12, 2022
Stars: 1
To sum it up: Although West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice tested positive for COVID-19 the day before his scheduled State of the State speech, he delivered a written message to the West Virginia Legislature on Jan. 12, detailing the state’s progress. He requested a joint session upon his recovery to deliver his full address in person.

The state’s economic growth was the central subject of his address, underlining the March 2021 creation of a separate Department of Economic Development. The purpose of the department, he said, was to focus on job recruitment and broadband expansion. Although he did not give details on the latter, the department recently developed a map to guide expansion efforts. Regarding jobs, he boasted the lowest unemployment rate in state history, at four percent. Since the department’s creation, employment has increased by more than 36,000 jobs. Justice also underlined the state’s work in vaccine distribution incentives to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. West Virginia is the first state to request federal authorization of a fourth dose of the vaccine for at-risk citizens.

Read the governor’s address here.

Wisconsin State of the State Address


Address date: Feb. 15, 2022
Stars: 1
To sum it up: In his fourth State of the State Address, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers focused on several topics, including supporting various industries and transportation projects, investing in infrastructure, and expanding access to reliable high-speed internet. To support industry, the state leveraged federal pandemic funds to inject $1 billion into small businesses and other areas such as farming, tourism, lodging and entertainment. To date, this effort has allowed the state to support 100,000 small businesses, resulting in nearly 3,000 businesses opening new storefronts.

As for transportation, the state improved more than 1,770 miles of highways and 1,250 bridges and kept all 375 planned transportation projects operational during the 2020 construction season. Because these projects were kept on track, Evers said, the state could secure $105 million reallocated from other states to invest back into its infrastructure.

Finally, more than $100 million in federal pandemic funds was put toward expanding access to reliable high-speed internet. It is projected that these funds will provide new or improved broadband access to more than 110,000 residents in nearly 50,000 homes and approximately 2,000 businesses. “During my time as governor, we will have invested almost 15 times more into expanding high-speed internet than the prior four years combined,” Evers said.

Read the governor’s speech here.

Wyoming State of the State Address


Address date: Feb. 14, 2022
Stars: 1
To sum it up: Gov. Mark Gordon touted Wyoming’s energy sector economy in his 2022 State of the State speech. He argued for simultaneously investing in the fossil fuel industry while looking at controlling its carbon emissions, and in renewable energy efforts. He said pursuing both traditional and alternative energy sources would balance climate change concerns with energy consumption demands and local economic needs.

“We have a plethora of opportunities coming our way: carbon capture utilization and sequestration; bioenergy CCUs; hydrogen; better, cleaner ways to burn coal and other fossil fuels,” Gordon said. “Wyoming is leading the research on ways to keep our legacy industry viable and take up new ones as well.”

Gordon decried federal efforts to cease issuing new permits for oil and gas drilling on public land, something President Biden pledged during his campaign, but has yet to achieve. Instead, the governor said “sensible development” and “innovations” could help achieve climate goals. Gordon also called for investing in transmission lines to deliver energy to other state customers and for budgeting $100 million for large-scale energy projects.

Alongside continuing to develop the energy sector, Gordon said the state needs to diversify its economy. He mentioned rising new business activities, including making nods to “advanced nuclear,” “advanced manufacturing” and “digital assets.” He also called for raising salaries for state employees across a variety of job types to curb a trend in which workers are lured away to higher-paying employment by Wyoming’s counties and towns and neighboring states. Gordon did not name IT workers specifically, but salary-boosting could help address such workforce needs; other states often report that noncompetitive salaries lose them cyber and technology talent.

Read the governor’s speech here.



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