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Republican Governors Discuss Future Challenges - 2002-11-23

Republican state governors, fresh from a series of victories in the recent mid-term elections, are meeting in California to celebrate their victory and plan for the future.

Nationally, Republicans extended their control to both houses of Congress in the election November 5, as they regained control of the Senate.

But in state elections, the Democrats won governorships in the populous industrial states of Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Michigan, and just barely retained the governor's seat in California. However, Republicans still hold a narrow majority of state governorships.

Nearly two dozen Republican governors and governors-elect are meeting in the beach resort of Dana Point, California. With their victories behind them, they are now discussing future challenges. Many U.S. states are facing fiscal crises, with shrinking budgets and rising costs for homeland security and health care.

U.S. homeland security director Tom Ridge was there to talk about challenges in the war on terrorism. Former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani also offered some advice, based on his experience leading a city that was a target for terrorists.

"I believe you have to relentlessly focus over the next four years on being prepared for every unimaginable thing that you never thought would happen," he said. "And then you have to be effective enough leaders to say to people, 'Relax.'"

The former New York mayor says the risk of terrorism must be kept in perspective because it ranks low among hazards that most Americans face.

The meeting of Republican state leaders is also focusing on issues like education, and political challenges leading up to the next presidential election in 2004.