7 Midwest states to partner on reopening the economy

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The White House (C, rear) is seen through an empty 16th Street on April 16, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Daniel SLIM / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images)

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Seven Midwestern governors announced Thursday that they will coordinate on reopening their state economies, after similar pacts were made in the Northeast and on the West Coast.

The Midwestern agreement includes Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.

“We look forward to working with experts and taking a fact-based, data-driven approach to reopening our economy in a way that protects families from the spread of COVID-19,” the governors said. “Our No. 1 priority when analyzing when (is) best to reopen our economy is the health and safety of our citizens.”

The alliance of states in the Midwest joins two others that were announced earlier in the week: one on the West Coast and one in the Northeast. All together, the 17 states covered by the three pacts are home to nearly half the U.S. population.

Ohio’s role in the agreement was unclear. A spokesman for Gov. Mike DeWine said his comments from Wednesday still stand.

“We have no formal agreements or compacts at this time,” Dan Tierney said Wednesday. But he said DeWine is in regular communication with governors of surrounding states to share information, strategy and resources. That included a three-way phone call with the governors of Kentucky and Indiana and a text exchange with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

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