Colorado Gov. Jared Polis

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Gov. Jared Polis has been elected as the new chair of the Western Governors’ Association, chosen to lead the bipartisan coalition of 22 governors from the western half of the United States. 

Polis, who has served as vice chair of the association for the last year, was selected by his fellow governors to replace Idaho Gov. Brad Little as chair, the Western Governors’ Association announced on Thursday. Polis' term as chair begins this month end expires after June 2023. 

Polis said he was “honored” to be chosen as the new chair, vowing to use the position to foster continued bipartisan collaboration across the West.

“I am excited for the future of the WGA, the bipartisan collaboration, and all the progress we can achieve together,” Polis said. “This important bipartisan work offers an opportunity to work together on shared issues like water resources, economic growth, wildfire mitigation, climate action, and public land stewardship to create better solutions to the challenges we face."

Polis’ election comes after, earlier this week, he announced his initiative to jump-start the development of geothermal energy generation in 2023 during the Western Governors’ Association’s annual meeting.

Dubbed the "Heat Beneath Our Feet,” Polis’ year-long initiative will evaluate strategies to scale geothermal technologies across the West to expand clean energy recourses.

“Geothermal energy is an opportunity to save people money, boost local economies, and help us achieve 100% renewable energy in Colorado by 2040,” Polis said. “I look forward to making progress towards clean, lower-cost power through the Heat Beneath Our Feet initiative and the strong bipartisan partnership of the WGA that will lead geothermal energy innovation.”

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon was elected to replace Polis as vice-chair of the association. 

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