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Governors and the National Governors Association (NGA): Examining the federal lobbying impact of the NGA

Mitchel N Herian, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The office of the governor in the United States has received increased attention from political scientists in recent years. The main focus of this scholarly activity has mainly centered on the rising prominence and importance of the governor in leading state governments and guiding state policy. As a result of this focus, the role of the governors as policy entrepreneurs in the federal system has been relatively understudied, leaving political scientists unable to fully understand the office of the governor at a time when governors and the states have been seen as resurgent. ^ This dissertation examines the role of governors in the federal policy arena. Specifically, the governors' efforts at lobbying the federal government for state-friendly policies by working collectively through the National Governors Association are studied. It is hypothesized that the governors are influential at shaping policy in Congress. To test this hypothesis, both qualitative and quantitative methods are used. Two case studies are conducted; the Global Tobacco Settlement of 1998 was considered a success for the NGA, and the Internet Tax Freedom Act of 1998 was considered a non-success. Statistical analyses are also used to test the hypothesis. The findings generally support the hypothesis, though there appear to be various factors involving the internal operations of the NGA and the characteristics of Congress that impact the probability of NGA success in lobbying Congress. ^ The results of the analysis hold important implications for the study of the governorship in the U.S. First, the findings provide a way in which scholars can understand how governors use informal powers to shape policy outside their home states. Second, this research provides insight into the operations and success of intergovernmental lobbying groups such as the NGA. Finally, because of evidence that suggests that a collaborative form of federalism currently exists, dominant theories of federalism may need to be modified so that a more realistic conceptualization of the state-federal relationship can be developed. ^

Subject Area

Political Science, General

Recommended Citation

Herian, Mitchel N, "Governors and the National Governors Association (NGA): Examining the federal lobbying impact of the NGA" (2008). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3297756.