Governors across the country are tackling budget shortfalls and entrenched special interests -- with Republicans leading the way followed by some Democrats, USA Today reported Tuesday.
Along the way, they’re changing the political landscape in their states and setting the national agenda for the 2012 presidential election.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Florida Gov. Rick Scott, all Republicans, and the Democratic leaders of California and New York, Gov. Larry Brown and Gov. Mario Cuomo, are fighting unions and proposing cuts to spending in Medicaid, education and public pensions.
The action of these governors and their state legislatures dominated by Republicans set the national political agenda and affect congressional and presidential races.
The recession was an incentive to challenge programs that have long been untouchable, says Bob Campbell, vice chairman of the financial services company Deloitte and co-author of "Letting Go of the Status Quo: A Playbook for Transforming State Government."
"Periods of adversity create an opening to drive alignment on tough issues that isn't always there in the good times," he says. It's hard, Campbell says, for politicians to "focus on longer-term structural issues that are driving the deficits when the benefits don't necessarily accrue before the next election cycle."
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