Elected Governor of Mexico's most economically dynamic state in 2003, Governor José Natividad González Parás recently carried out a thorough reform of the state's judicial system to provide for more equitable and transparent court procedures. He has also given leadership to a process of regional integration that led to the signing of the Regional Partnership for Prosperity between Texas and the Northeastern states of Mexico to address joint competitiveness challenges. Governor González Parás will address these initiatives and other reforms underway in Nuevo León during his presentation.

Governor González Parás served previously as a Senator (PRI) and chair of the Senate Education Committee; a member of the House of Deputies; and Undersecretary for Political Affairs in the Secretaría de Gobernación. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Paris

Governor Natividad González Parás presented a series of innovations that his government has pursued since he was elected in 2003. He noted that state governments needed to respond to both the new role of state within Mexican federalism and the new demands of the global economy. To address these challenges, his government has pursued five key sets of innovations in government.

First, the government of Nuevo León has joined two other states in the northeast of Mexico and the government of Texas to sign a regional competitiveness agreement known as the Partnership for Regional Progress. As part of this, he is promoting the state's capital, Monterrey, as an "international city of knowledge," building on the historical strength of its educational institutions and its proximity to the border to develop a commitment to technological innovation in Mexico.

Second, the state government has pursued a series of measures to decentralize its activities, ensure transparency in purchases and contracts, and ensure citizen participation. This includes an effort to reform the electoral code to include runoff elections and allow for reelection among local legislators. Third, the government has reoriented policies to address areas of greater poverty in the state by investing heavily in poverty alleviation programs.

Fourth, the government has redesigned its justice system. This has included the implementation of oral trials in open court to reduce the secrecy of trial proceedings. The reforms have also reduced the average time that a case is resolved to between 50 to 90 days. Finally, the government won approval of an access to information law that included not only the executive branch (as the federal law does) but also the legislative and judicial branches. Nonetheless, the federal attorney general's office objected to aspects of the law and it is currently under review by the Supreme Court.