New and Returning Governors and Higher Ed

What the winning candidates promised for colleges and students.

November 9, 2016

The following table lists the winning gubernatorial candidates in Tuesday's elections and their pledges on higher education. Candidates with an asterisk were incumbents.

The North Carolina governor's race has not been called, as of 4 a.m. Wednesday morning -- and that is one that many in higher education have been watching. Roy Cooper, the attorney general and the Democratic candidate, has the slimmest of leads over the incumbent Republican, Governor Pat McCrory. The governor backed HB2, the controversial law -- now being challenged in court -- that requires public universities to bar transgender students from using bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. The law has led to boycotts of the state and its universities -- and many in higher education in North Carolina say that they are being hurt by the law. Cooper favors repealing the measure.

Governors' races had not been called in states with blanks in this table that follows. The table will be updated as winners are determined.

State Winner (Party) Pledges to …
Delaware John Carney (D)
  • Expand career pathways programs for high school students to get vocational training.
  • Strengthen ties between high schools, public higher education and business.
Indiana Eric Holcomb (R)
  • Work with public university presidents to slow the growth in tuition rates.
  • Create new programs to help those returning to the work force find appropriate training.
Missouri Eric Greitens (R)
  • Push all state agencies to demonstrate accountability and results, while eliminating waste and fraud.
New Hampshire Chris Sununu
  • Create incentives for New Hampshire college graduates to stay in the state.
  • Promote more collaboration between community colleges and businesses.
North Carolina    
North Dakota Doug Burgum (R)
  • Promote programs to allow high school students to earn college credit.
  • Promote lifelong learning.
Oregon Kate Brown (D)*
  • Expand student aid.
Utah Gary Herbert (R)*
  • Hold students in high school to high standards such that they should not need remediation in college.
  • Assure that technical education programs are aligned with the needs of state businesses.
Vermont Phil Scott (R)
  • Encourage innovation in education, including flexible and individual learning plans, sharing resources and making better use of technology to help achieve efficiencies.
Washington State Jay Inslee (D)*
  • Continue efforts to minimize tuition increases by providing more funds for public higher education.
  • Support state aid for undocumented students.
West Virginia Jim Justice (D)
  • Encourage job training efforts that prepare students for jobs in West Virginia.


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