PROVIDENCE — Lately Providence might be known as Crimetown, thanks to a popular podcast about Rhode Island’s largest city. But for two days it could also be called the center of the political universe.
With Washington mired in news of the Russia investigations and lawmakers stalled on the new health care bill, more than half the nation’s governors, along with Vice President Mike Pence and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, are all gathered for a semiannual conference in the country’s smallest state.
Trudeau’s appearance at the event was the first ever from a foreign head of state. His speech came weeks before the North American Free Trade Agreement members will begin renegotiations, and he spent the bulk of it discussing the trade relationship.
The 2017 National Governors Association conference at the Providence Convention Center this weekend has drawn the greatest number of governors ever — 32 — to attend the summer meeting. For the first time, it has sold out, according to Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who chairs the group. Every governor in New England is attending, except for Maine Governor Paul LePage. In all, 1,800 people registered for the event, which started Thursday and runs through Saturday night.