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February 2, 2022

Two years later, Portland again plans to host National Governors Association

File photo Gov. Janet Mills will host fellow governors at the NGA Summer Meeting tentatively scheduled for July 13-15 in Portland.

Two years after the highest elected state leaders from throughout the U.S. were a no-show, Maine is again planning to host the annual summer meeting of the National Governors Association.

An NGA spokesman on Tuesday told Mainebiz the conference, which attracts as many as 2,000 attendees, is tentatively scheduled for July 13-15 in Portland.

Gov. Janet Mills formally invited her peers while attending the NGA Winter Meeting last week in Washington, D.C.

“I am excited to welcome the nation’s governors to Maine for the 2022 NGA Summer Meeting,” Mills said in a statement. “There is no better place than Maine, especially during the summer, and I look forward to showcasing our state and our people for my fellow governors and the rest of the nation.”

Mills’ statement did not specify the meeting’s date but said it would be in July.

Jessica Grondin, a spokeswoman for the city of Portland, told Mainebiz on Wednesday, “We are very supportive of this visit and think they chose an ideal spot for their meeting.”

Portland was also slated as the site of the 2020 meeting, but the pandemic forced that event to go online, without a venue.

“We had been working on this back when they originally planned to come in 2020, and look forward to again working with the Governor’s Office and others in ensuring its success,” Grondin said.

The summer and winter meetings are the two yearly, national events for the NGA, a nonpartisan organization comprising the governors of the 55 U.S. states, territories and commonwealths.

The gatherings typically include discussions with top leaders from business, government and philanthropy, and are a magnet for lobbyists, vendors and the national press corps. The NGA summer meetings from 2017-2019 generated an average of $1.5 million in room stays, spending by attendees and exhibitors, and other economic activity.

And like the 2020 meeting, this one will come on the eve of national elections that could shift the balance of power in Washington. 

In November 2019, Visit Portland President and CEO Lynn Tillotson told Mainebiz it was hard to put a price on the exposure that the city and Maine would receive from the NGA conference.

But she expected many attendees to extend their trip into a mini-vacation, saying, "Visit Portland is excited to show the U.S. that we can host a world-class conference in our city and state."

Portland last hosted an NGA meeting in 1983.

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