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Governor superlatives: Which states are the best?

To put together the “Which states are the best” video, we read through each governor’s “state of the state” address.

The quotes we used in the video are not the only ones in which the governors bragged that their states were number one. Here is a full list of the quotes we collected. (We’ve included the three governors who gave an annual address in 2017, but subsequently left office –  Alabama’s Gov. Robert Bentley, who resigned in early April as impeachment proceedings were just beginning;  South Carolina’s Nikki Haley, who left office shortly after her state of the state address to become U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and Iowa’s Gov. Terry Branstad, who resigned on May 24 to become U.S. ambassador to China.)

Please note that the quotes below were taken from transcripts and may sometimes differ slightly from the video versions. For links to this year’s governors’ state of the state addresses, we used the handy list with links provided by the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO).


Gov. Robert Bentley, February 7, 2017 (resigned in early April)

“This Administration worked so fast and so efficiently that of the 26 new governors elected nationwide in 2010, we reduced the size of our state’s bureaucracy at the third fastest pace.”

“PreK is truly an Alabama success story, our 4 year olds are thriving, and we are ranked Number One in America”.


Governor Bill Walker, January 18, 2017

“We are the largest state in the nation.”


Gov. Doug Ducey, January 9, 2017

“If there’s one thing we can agree on, it’s this: Arizona is, without a doubt, the most beautiful state in the country.”


Gov. Asa Hutchinson, January 10, 2017

“We have moved Arkansas to number one in the nation in computer science education.”


Gov. John Hickenlooper, January 12, 2017

“We’re the number one state for business and careers, we have the best workforce, and we’re one of the best states for innovation.”

“More people attend cultural events in Colorado than any other state, more skiers and snowboarders choose Colorado; we are the best place for outdoor recreation"

“Colorado has led the country on moving to cleaner energy sources.”


Gov. Jerry Brown, January 24, 2017

“This is California, the sixth most powerful economy in the world.”


Gov. Dannel Malloy, January 4, 2017

“Today, thanks to great teachers and principals, our students are some of the best readers in the country.”


Gov. Rick Scott, March 7, 2017

“Our job growth rate is growing more than twice as fast as the national rate."

“Our economy is booming . . .Florida is on the verge of becoming the job creation capital of the world.”


Gov. Nathan Deal, January 11, 2017

“For four consecutive years, Georgia has been named the best state for business.”


Gov. David Ige, January 23, 2017

“Our people are among the healthiest in the nation. Our unemployment rate is the third lowest in the country.”

“We invested in infrastructure and attracted investment capital.  And guess what? ”We proceeded to create the most desired and successful travel destination in the world.”


Gov. Bruce Rauner, January 25, 2017

“We have the best people and best location of any state in America.”


Gov. Eric Holcomb, January 17, 2017

“ Indiana today stands as one of the top five states in the country for doing business"

“Because we’ve created one of the best business climates in the country, we’ve become national leaders in business growth.”


Gov. Terry Branstad, January 10, 2017 (left office May 24 to become U.S. ambassador to China)

“We just set an all-time record for ethanol production, set a new record for biodiesel production by an additional 55 million gallons and lead the nation in percentage of electricity generated by wind.”


Gov. Sam Brownback, January 10, 2017

“Our state has record population, record new businesses, record grain production, and record income.”

“According to the most recent information from the federal Child and Family Services Review, our state’s foster care program was first in the nation in protecting foster care kids from abuse and second in the nation in safely maintaining children in their homes.”

“By many measures Kansas is the envy of the world."

“Set in the most productive part of this blessed nation, Kansans enjoy unparalleled sunsets and a quality of life unimaginable to most humans throughout history."

“Our people, numbering now almost three million, lead the planet in agriculture, telecommunications, engineering, aerospace, precision manufacturing, animal health, food safety, and composite material innovation."

“Kansans are among the most hard-working, well-educated, and charitable people on earth.”


Gov. Larry Hogan, February 1, 2017

“I’m proud to report to you that Maryland has now moved into the top ten states in the nation for overall economic performance.”

“Maryland is ranked as the fifth most innovative state in America."

“We rank third in the country in entrepreneurial business growth."

“Our state has the second lowest percentage of people living below the poverty rate in the nation, and Maryland has the highest median household income in the United States of America.”


Gov. Charlie Baker, January 24, 2017

“In fact, for the second year in a row, Bloomberg named Massachusetts the #1 state for innovation.”

“Thanks to the hard work of state & local officials, teachers and parents our students are #1 in the nation in both math and reading for the sixth straight year.”


Gov. Rick Snyder, January 17, 2017

“To give you a fact you might be amazed by, but we should be really proud, our state has the highest net-bound inward migration of people with bachelor’s degrees of any state in the Great Lakes region.”

“We are number one in the production of 20 different commodities”

“Now here is a stat for you as you travel Michigan. I want you to look for those Michigan cows. Michigan cows are the second most productive in the nation after Colorado per cow.”

“Michigan had the highest growth in incoming international visitors of any state in the nation from 2014 to 2015.”

“Manufacturing. We are simply leading the nation. We have created over 116,000 manufacturing jobs since December 2010. We lead the nation. We are number one both in terms of number of manufacturing jobs and growth rate percentage.”

“I’m proud to say we lead the nation in having more industrial designers than any other state. I’m proud to say we lead the nation in having more mechanical and industrial engineers than any other state in the nation”


Gov. Phil Bryant, January 17, 2017

“According to the U.S. Chamber Foundation, we are the No. 3 state in America for export growth and the second best state for overall cost of doing business.”

“Last year, our fourth graders led the nation’s improvement in reading and math”

“I am proud to say, we were the first state to submit a Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act action plan to the U. S. Department of Labor.”


Gov. Steve Bullock, January 24, 2017

“We hold the largest coal reserves in the country, and Montana coal production has been higher under my Administration than any previous one in the last three decades. Though, change is on the horizon — driven by historically low natural gas prices, regulatory concerns and changing consumer demands."

We also have some of the best wind and solar resources in the country.”


Gov. Brian Sandoval, January 17, 2017

“We are home to the only lithium mine in the U.S.”

“I am proud to report that Nevada is the first and only state to allow wagers on e-sports.”

New Mexico

Gov. Susana Martinez, January 17, 2017

“We are ranked second in the nation in growth for students taking AP exams.”

New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, January 9, 2017

“We have invested more in education than any other time in history and more than any other state in the nation.”


Gov. John Kasich, April 4, 2017

“Last fall, a survey of CEOs named Ohio one of the ten best places to do business.  Last fall.  That’s 34 places higher than we ranked in 2010.”

“Forbes ranked us the 11th best state for business.  That’s up from 38th.  So we went from 11th with Forbes, from 38th just five years ago.  And there have been other good ratings, like the one from middle market executives – that’s sort of middle-sized companies — that placed us first in growth in the country.”

Rhode Island

Gov. Gina Raimondo, January 17, 2017

“By the end of this year, Rhode Island is going to be the first state in America to offer computer science classes in every town and at every public school around the state. Not California. Not Massachusetts or New York. But Rhode Island. We’re first.”

“We’re already the first and only state in America with an offshore wind farm.”

South Dakota

Gov. Dennis Daugaard, January 3, 2017

“Our National Guard ranks number one in the nation for attrition loss rate, number two in security compliance, number three for timeliness in soldier evaluations, and number five for personnel readiness and soldier management.”

“We recently launched an online pardon application site – making South Dakota the first state in the nation with a completely online pardon application process.”


Gov. Bill Haslam, January 30, 2017

“Tennessee’s median household income has grown at the second fastest rate in the country.”

“On education, there is no state in the U.S. that is demanding the spotlight like Tennessee. It’s worth repeating: with the incredible hard work of our teachers and students, Tennesseans are the fastest improving in the country in math, reading and as of this year, science.”

“Tennesseans pay the lowest amount of tax as a percentage of their income of any of the 50 states.”


Gov. Greg Abbott,  January 31, 2017

“We are now second in the number of Fortune 500 companies. And with your help, we’ll soon be No. 1.”

“Texas is No. 2 in the nation for women-owned businesses. Our goal is to make Texas No. 1.”

“Texas now has more public high schools ranked in the top 100 than any other state. We have the fourth highest high school graduation rate in America. We are second among Hispanic and African-American students, and first among economically disadvantaged students. And the No. 1 public high school in America is in Dallas Independent School District.”


Gov. Gary Herbert, January 25, 2017

“I truly could spend all evening simply listing the national accolades that have come our way.”

“In the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress — known as the nation’s report card — Utah’s fourth graders ranked 8th in the nation in Math, 7th in Reading and 5th in Science. And Utah’s eighth graders ranked 8th in Math, 6th in Reading AND were ranked 1st in the nation in Science.”

“Utah is now in the top 10 in the nation for electric vehicle adoption and number one for Compressed Natural Gas infrastructure.”


Gov. Terry McAuliffe, January 11, 2017

We made Virginia safer by reforming our juvenile justice system, and posting the lowest adult recidivism rate in America.”

“We took action to protect Virginia from the threat of climate change and sea-level rise, winning a $120 million federal resiliency grant for Norfolk and other communities in Hampton Roads. That is the largest grant given to any state in America.”

“Our state workforce is the best in America.”


Gov. Scott Walker, January 10, 2017

“The percentage of people working in Wisconsin is one of the highest of any state in the country.”

“We rank as one of the best states in the nation for health insurance coverage.”

“We just started including everyone in the ACT tests and Wisconsin is one of the best states in the country in that category. Students here also have some of the best graduation rates in the country.”

“As mentioned, more people are working than ever before in our state. Our schools continue to be some of the best in the country. The University of Wisconsin just moved up in another ranking. Chief Executive Magazine raised Wisconsin up again on the best places to do business – we’re up 30 states from 2010. Our improvement in the tax climate is one of the best in the nation. The economic impact of tourism went up 30% since we took office. Health care systems in our state are ranked in the top three in the country. And our farmers continue to produce some of the best food on the planet – heck, we just won the gold medal for the best cheese in the world.”


Gov. Matt Mead, January 11, 2017

“In 2016, Wyoming has ranked the best state to start a business, the best state to make a living, and the best state to retire.”

“Wyoming continues to be ranked No. 1 among states by the Tax Foundation, for having the most business friendly tax climate.”


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