A state-by-state look at governors' trade trips abroad, their costs and results

Technology Associated Press

U.S. governors have taken or scheduled about 80 trips abroad since the start of 2014, generally focused on boosting exports or recruiting businesses to their states. Here's a look at what each governor has done.

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ALABAMA

Republican Gov. Robert Bentley led a delegation to London for the Farnborough Air Show in July 2014. The total cost: $232,940, of which $93,326 was paid by the state. The rest was paid by about two dozen "community sponsors," including universities, local airport and development authorities, utilities and other businesses. While there, Bentley announced three business expansions involving 700 jobs for Alabama, including one that had begun with talks at the Paris Air Show in 2013. Bentley said he wished the air show had a different name. "It sounds like a vacation," he said at the time. But "it's the hardest three days I ever spend."

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ALASKA

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Gov. Bill Walker, an independent who took office in December, has not announced any foreign trade trips.

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ARIZONA

Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who took office in January, was taking his first foreign trip this week. Ducey was going to the Paris Air Show and then leading a 53-person delegation to Mexico City, where the state recently reopened a trade office. The delegation includes more than two dozen business leaders, the president of the Phoenix Suns basketball team and a former professional baseball player who is an analyst on Spanish radio broadcasts for the Arizona Diamondbacks. The events include a reception hosted by Mexican telecommunications mogul Carlos Slim, ranked by Forbes magazine as the second-richest person in the world. Ducey's administration says agreements will be signed with Mexican officials on economic-development, education and infrastructure. It says costs will be released later.

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ARKANSAS

New Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, was taking his first foreign trip this week. He was attending the Paris Air Show for what his office described as "high-level networking opportunities with company representatives." Hutchison also was going to Germany to meet with business leaders. The cost to the state is projected at $129,000, including $42,000 for travel and $87,000 for events and trade show booths. The Arkansas Economic Development Foundation expects to spend an additional $16,285 on the trip.

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CALIFORNIA

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown led a 114-person "trade and investment mission" to Mexico City in July 2014. The trip organized by the California Chamber of Commerce included 88 business officials, lobbyists and political operatives who paid $5,000 apiece to participate and help finance the travel of Brown and his senior officials. Among the business interests participating were the American Pistachio Growers Association, the California Ski Industry Association and BP America. Fifteen Democratic state lawmakers also went along, paying for their share from campaign funds. Brown signed several non-binding agreements with Mexico on trade, education and environmental cooperation. He says California agreed to help Mexico find ways to build renewable energy plants and to shorten long waits at the Tijuana-San Diego international border crossing.

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COLORADO

Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper was a speaker at the World Economic Forum in January in Switzerland. His $1,950 hotel bill was paid by the state. Last year, Hickenlooper led a 91-person delegation to Mexico while attending a summit organized by the Biennial of the Americas. The state spent about $11,500 for travel and lodging for the governor and state economic-development officials. But the total public-sector costs were probably higher because the participants included numerous university and local government officials. Also along were business and tourism representatives who paid their own way.

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CONNECTICUT

Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy was traveling this week to Ireland, France and Germany. He was meeting with executives from Aer Lingus about the possibility of direct flights from Connecticut to Ireland, then attending the Paris Air Show. Those costs are to be covered by the state. The Vera Institute of Justice, a New York-based nonprofit, was paying for Malloy's trip to Berlin, where he was touring a prison and meeting with criminal-justice officials.

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DELAWARE

Democratic Gov. Jack Markell traveled to Switzerland in May for the St. Gallen Symposium, a gathering of business and political leaders from around the world. Markell was part of a panel discussion about small states and a featured speaker for a session titled "Size Matters: Thriving in the New Economy." His office said the costs were covered by the symposium.

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FLORIDA

Republican Gov. Rick Scott traveled this week to the Paris Air Show, staying for less time than originally planned because the Florida Legislature was wrapping up work on a state budget. The trip was financed by Enterprise Florida, a nonprofit economic-development group, which has not released the costs. Scott spokeswoman Jeri Bustamante said the governor "is confident this economic-development trip will result in job creation for Florida." It's his 11th trip abroad since taking office in 2011 but his first since going to Japan in November 2013. By comparison, former Gov. Jeb Bush, who spent eight years in office, took 16 foreign trade trips.

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GEORGIA

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal was leading a trade trip to Brazil this week, where he announced that the Brazilian information technology company Stefanini is adding 400 jobs to its Atlanta office. That comes after Deal took a secretive business trip to the United Kingdom in January. He also went on a more traditional trade trip to Israel in June 2014. Atlanta-based United Parcel Service Inc. hosted one of the delegation's meals in Israel, and another was paid for by an Israeli firm. The state spent $70,000 for 14 employees plus $21,000 for marketing and a pro-Georgia seminar hosted in Tel Aviv. Business participants who went along were charged $2,895 each. An Israeli countertop maker and a fertilizer company announced plans to expand in Georgia.

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HAWAII

Democratic Gov. David Ige, who took office in December, was traveling to Japan on his first foreign trip this week. In addition to meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Ige met with tourism officials and representatives of airlines, travel agencies and businesses to encourage more travel to the Hawaiian Islands. The governor's office was paying the estimated $9,800 cost of the trip.

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IDAHO

Republican Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter traveled in May to Mexico and Peru as part of a 33-person delegation that included administration officials and representatives of 19 business entities. Among those along were representatives of onion, potato and dairy groups and a firm that makes wheelchair attachments. The Idaho Commerce Department says the trip was funded by a $35,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Businesses that participated paid an additional $30,000, and the state paid about $5,000.

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ILLINOIS

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, who took office in January, has not announced any trade trips abroad.

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INDIANA

Republican Gov. Mike Pence traveled in May to China. The trip was paid for by private donations to the Indiana Economic Development Foundation, which finances all of the governor's foreign trade missions but has not disclosed its costs or its sources of money. Pence took four trips last year to Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada and Israel. He said three German companies announced Indiana expansions, which would create a total of 100 jobs. Agricultural processor Tate & Lyle announced a $90 million Indiana expansion during Pence's trip to the United Kingdom and an additional $65 million expansion in March. The Canadian trip included a business recruitment event during a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game.

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IOWA

Republican Gov. Terry Branstad plans a trade trip in September to South Korea. The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation already has signed up to go along. Costs are projected at $241,500, with $112,500 coming from the state and the rest from the Iowa Economic Development Foundation. Branstad took no trips abroad last year.

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KANSAS

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback traveled to China last November with officials from his commerce and agriculture departments, which covered the $21,216 cost. Brownback spokesman Eileen Hawley said the governor met with government and business leaders "to foster investment and trade." The fruits of the trip remain to be seen. Hawley said: "Potential projects are still confidential."

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KENTUCKY

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear has been among the most active foreign travelers. He's in the United Kingdom this week promoting Kentucky tourism while attending the Royal Ascot horse races. He plans to meet with foreign travel agents and writers to tout the state's bourbon and horse heritage. Beshear, who is in his final year in office, also traveled this year to Canada, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Germany and Sweden. That comes after trips last year to the U.K., Italy, Japan and two visits to Germany. During this year's Germany trip, Beshear spoke at the international CAR-Symposium for automotive industry executives. The governor's administration has not yet provided details on the costs of the trips. The current one will be covered by the governor's office and the state tourism agency, which gets revenues from a hotel tax.

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LOUISIANA

Gov. Bobby Jindal, a likely Republican presidential candidate, has traveled abroad each of the past two Januarys. This year, he led a trade delegation to the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Germany. Last year, he went to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, which cost the state about $57,000 — more than half of that for security costs. This year's trip cost $36,000 for security, but other costs have not yet been released. Jindal also is being marketed as one of the marquee participants — along with another presidential contender, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania — on a Christian tour to Israel Oct. 27 through Nov. 6, organized by the Family Research Council.

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MAINE

Republican Gov. Paul LePage took two trips abroad in June 2014. He traveled with more than two dozen state and business officials to Iceland, where the shipping company Eimskip hosted a $5,000 reception. LePage returned to Maine while the delegation went on to London. Later that month, LePage traveled to China to meet with representatives of North China Industries, known as NORINCO, about a potential railcar manufacturing operation at a former U.S. Air Force base in Maine. A LePage spokeswoman says discussions are ongoing with NORINCO. The China trip cost the state about $25,000. The trip to Iceland and England cost Maine $38,367, and businesses that participated paid an additional $64,300. The president of the Maine International Trade Center said those businesses reported $2.5 million in projected export sales resulting from the trip.

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MARYLAND

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who took office in January, led his first trade trip May 26 through June 6 to South Korea, China and Japan. The 36-person delegation included his wife, who is Korean, nearly a dozen university officials and 15 business leaders, including several from the energy company Dominion and two from a business that has been working with a Japanese firm to bring high-speed trains to the northeastern U.S. Their agenda included more than 40 scheduled events. The cost: $140,000 to the state, plus additional unspecified costs paid by businesses.

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MASSACHUSETTS

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker took office in January. He has no trips abroad planned.

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MICHIGAN

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder traveled this week to Canada. He led a delegation in November to China, his fourth trip to that country since taking office in 2011. He also traveled last year to Italy and Germany for a trip focused primarily on the automotive industry. Snyder's administration has not yet provided details on the costs of those trips. A 2013 trip to China and Japan cost $251,000, nearly $219,000 of which was covered by money the Michigan Economic Development Corp. receives from the profits of American Indian casinos. The rest came from the nonprofit Michigan Economic Development Foundation, whose various business donors include Detroit's big three automakers. Snyder says his China trips have led to several projects, including a $56 million expansion by YanFeng USA Automotive Trim Systems that could create more than 500 jobs. He is tentatively planning trips later this year to China, Japan, Germany and Italy.

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MINNESOTA

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton is planning an August trade trip to Mexico that his administration says will focus on "strengthening business, education and cultural ties." The trip will cost business attendees $2,800 each. The state is seeking trade mission sponsors to cover its costs.

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MISSISSIPPI

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant was part of a 26-person delegation to Japan for a meeting of the Southeast U.S.-Japan Association last September, a year after the state hosted the annual conference. The state said the costs were covered by donors, including AT&T, Chevron and Nissan. Leading the trip with Bryant was construction company executive William Yates III, co-chairman of the meeting and a significant political contributor to Bryant and the Republican Party. Bryant also led a trade trip in November to Israel, where he met with the prime minister and spoke at the International Conference on Homeland Security. The costs: nearly $20,000 from state funds, nearly $19,000 from the U.S. Small Business Administration, more than $6,500 from businesses and an undisclosed amount from the Mississippi Partnership for Economic Development.

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MISSOURI

Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon led a trade trip in March to Italy, Spain and Germany and was traveling to the Paris Air Show this week. He went last year to Canada. His costs for the trips were covered by the nonprofit Hawthorn Foundation, which is financed by many of the state's largest businesses. It reported $118,162 in expenses for "trade mission support" in 2014. It declined to disclose specific costs for each of Nixon's trips. Business officials who went along on the European trip were billed up to $6,500 for help arranging meetings with prospective overseas business partners. Nixon recently touted one result: Piva Group, an Italian maker of vinyl housing materials, plans to open its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Missouri, employing up to 122 people.

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MONTANA

Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock led at 19-person delegation to several Chinese cities last September. Going along were business leaders from oil and grain companies, a distillery and a tourism company that brings Chinese travelers to Yellowstone and Glacier national parks. The state costs totaled nearly $50,000, with business delegates paying an additional $86,000 for their expenses. In July 2014, Bullock attended the Pacific Northwest Economic Region summit in Canada, with his accommodations paid by the regional nonprofit group that organized the gathering. He announced that the 2015 conference will be hosted in Montana.

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NEBRASKA

Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, a former TD Ameritrade executive who took office in January, went on his first trade trip in June to Italy, Belgium and Denmark. The cost to the state was projected at $55,000. More than three dozen people were going along, with businesses responsible for paying their own way. The trade trip had an agricultural emphasis. Ricketts hopes to take more trips. He said: "Expanding the number of trade missions is a priority of my administration."

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NEVADA

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval is planning a five-country European trip July 18 to Aug. 2 that will include more than 60 people. His administration says the trip will focus on manufacturing, water technology, mining, information technology and tourism. The cost to the state for Sandoval, his staff and economic-development officials is projected between $150,000 and $175,000, which will be supplemented by private donations through the nonprofit Success Nevada. Business and higher education officials are paying their own way. Sandoval led a two-day trade trip to Canada in April 2014, focused partly on showcasing the drone technology of Nevada companies and researchers.

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NEW JERSEY

Gov. Chris Christie, a potential Republican presidential candidate, took three foreign trips in five months. He traveled to Mexico last September, Canada in December and the United Kingdom in February. The three trips combined cost taxpayers nearly $124,000 for Christie's security and his official photographer. Christie's travel was paid for by Choose New Jersey, a nonprofit group composed of corporations and utilities, some of which have received lucrative state tax incentives. Christie's office declined to say how much Choose New Jersey paid for his travel. He met with President Enrique Pena Nieto in Mexico and Prime Minister David Cameron in the United Kingdom, where he also attended a soccer match.

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NEW HAMPSHIRE

Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan traveled to Turkey in June 2014 with representatives from seven New Hampshire businesses. The trip sparked controversy because it came just a month after Hassan issued a ban on out-of-state travel because of an expected budget shortfall. The governor's office said the $15,000 cost of the trip already had been budgeted. The itinerary included more than 100 meetings for businesses, although no specific deals have been publicly announced. The state is planning a trade trip to Colombia in October, but Hassan is not going along.

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NEW MEXICO

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez has taken several quick trips across the border to meet with officials in neighboring Mexican states. On April 15, she participated in an event marking the completion of a highway bypass around the Mexican city of Chihuahua that officials hope will boost trade throughout the region. She also discussed economic-development issues at meetings in April and August of joint commissions with Mexican officials. The state costs for the three trips totaled $17,438.

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NEW YORK

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo in April became the first U.S. governor to visit Cuba since an easing of relations with the communist country. With him were executives from JetBlue, Pfizer and other New York-based companies. Shortly before his re-election last fall, Cuomo traveled in October to the Dominican Republic to show Dominicans in New York his "respect for their community and origins." He traveled to Israel in August with legislative leaders, publisher Mort Zuckerman and others as a "demonstration of solidarity" with that country. The state has not yet provided costs for the trips. Cuomo says he plans additional trips to China, Canada and Italy.

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NORTH CAROLINA

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who took office in 2013, made his first trade trip abroad in January to the United Kingdom. His administration has declined to elaborate on his meetings there with company executives, describing them as competitive economic-development matters while citing a state law that allows records to remain closed during ongoing business recruitment efforts. The state paid about $9,000 for the trip.

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NORTH DAKOTA

The last trade trip for Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple was in June 2013, when he led a 21-person delegation to Norway. More than one-third of the participants were from the city of Minot, which hosts an annual Scandinavian festival. The state's costs exceeded $8,600. The first lady and business officials paid their own way.

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OHIO

Gov. John Kasich, a potential Republican presidential candidate, hasn't taken anything that he defines as a "trade mission" since taking office in 2011. But Kasich did travel in January 2013 to Switzerland for the World Economic Forum. The $25,304 tab was paid by JobsOhio, the state's privatized jobs agency. The governor's office says it helped persuade three businesses to invest $58.5 million in Ohio, creating 509 jobs.

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OKLAHOMA

Republican Gov. Mary Fallin was traveling in June to the Paris Air Show, Germany and Italy. It was her first trip abroad since attending the 2013 air show. "These shows are where decision-makers meet," said Oklahoma Science and Technology Secretary Stephen McKeever. Fallin's costs are being covered by the nonprofit Oklahoma Business Roundtable. For her previous trip, the state paid $17,239 for four Commerce Department staff to go along. The state says companies reported $100,000 in immediate sales as a result of the 2013 trade show but forecast millions more.

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OREGON

Democratic Gov. Kate Brown took office in February following the resignation of John Kitzhaber. She recently announced plans for her first trade trip in October to China, Japan and Vietnam.

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PENNSYLVANIA

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf took office in January. He has no trade trips planned.

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RHODE ISLAND

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo took office in January. She has no trade trips planned.

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SOUTH CAROLINA

Republican Gov. Nikki Haley traveled in March to Sweden but kept the trip secret until Volvo announced in May that it would build its first U.S. auto plant in South Carolina. The $500 million plant was a big payoff for the trip's $34,453 cost. It was split roughly evenly between the state and its "special events fund," which is financed by businesses and regional economic-development groups. The state offered Volvo more than $200 million in incentives. Haley led trade trips to Canada in spring 2014 and to her parents' native country of India last November. The India trip was the most expensive, costing the state $56,136 for travel, lodging, meals and marketing and an additional $10,129 from the "special events fund." The Commerce Department said the trip resulted in more than 30 "opportunities" that its employees are pursuing.

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SOUTH DAKOTA

Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard led a trade delegation to China in May 2014 for the third consecutive year. The total cost for the 19-person delegation was $131,823, with the state paying $108,384. The diverse group included leaders from the sunflower, steel, cheese, auto dealer and cleaning supply industries. Businesses that sent representatives paid 70 percent of their own costs. Daugaard's spokeswoman said a survey of businesses that participated in a Chinese trip showed that about half either had gotten government contracts as a result or had continued discussions with Chinese companies.

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TENNESSEE

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam took a weeklong trade trip to Japan and South Korea in June 2014. His administration declined at the time to identify the companies with which he met, drawing criticism from a tea party leader and government watchdog group. The state economic-development agency now says Haslam met with executives of Bridgestone, Nissan and Denso, an auto parts supplier. Bridgestone announced plans in November to build a $233 million headquarters in Nashville, Denso announced an $85 million Tennessee expansion in January and Nissan announced a $160 million project for parts suppliers in March. But efforts to bring nonstop flights to Nashville have not yet borne fruit. The state Department of Economic and Community Development says the trip cost about $19,000. Haslam is planning a trip to Israel later this year.

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TEXAS

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who took office in January, has no trips abroad planned yet. But Abbott said he plans to carry on the tradition of his gubernatorial predecessor, Republican presidential candidate Gov. Rick Perry, who traveled widely overseas to recruit businesses to Texas, including visits to Switzerland, Japan, China and England last year. Those were paid for by a political nonprofit Perry founded, as well as TexasOne, a public-private partnership that acts like a quasi-state agency but relies on private donors rather than state money. State troopers who provided Perry's security during those trips, however, cost Texas nearly $82,000.

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UTAH

Republican Gov. Gary Herbert went on a European trip in June, with stops in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany before attending the Paris Air Show. Among other things, the trip is meant to highlight new nonstop commercial flights between Salt Lake City and Amsterdam. Herbert led delegations of about 30 business leaders to Brazil in November and about 50 people to Mexico in April 2014. The costs to the state: about $25,000 for Mexico about $40,000 for each of the other two trips, with businesses paying their own costs. The state says business deals are in the works from Brazil, and universities have set up student exchanges.

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VERMONT

Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin's most recent trade trip was in September 2013, when Jay Peak Resort paid about $50,000 for a small delegation to go to China and Vietnam. The goal was to find more foreign investors for northern Vermont development projects — including those headed by Jay Peak — in exchange for immigration privileges. Jay Peak President Bill Stenger said the trip helped attract 50 to 70 investors who put a total of $30 million to $40 million into Vermont projects. While campaigning for governor in 2010, Shumlin had said: "I don't think the answer to our economic problems is junkets to China."

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VIRGINIA

Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe was traveling this month on a six-country European tour — highlighted by the Paris Air Show — estimated to cost taxpayers more than $176,000. While abroad, McAuliffe has announced plans by a United Kingdom-based auto insurer and a German grocer to expand in Virginia, creating a combined 1,873 jobs. He traveled in July 2014 to the Farnborough Air Show in the United Kingdom and to China, where a paper company had announced plans to build a $2 billion facility in Virginia, employing up to 2,000 people. That trip cost more than $148,000. McAuliffe returned to China, Japan and South Korea in October on a trip packed with 70 meetings at a cost of more than $250,000. His administration has said the traveling is worth the cost: "These trips are the way you close deals," McAuliffe told the AP in Paris: He is planning a trip to Israel and India in October and has said he will visit Cuba later this year.

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WASHINGTON

Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee plans to lead a trade trip in late August or early September to Japan and South Korea. In July 2014, he led a 40-person delegation of business leaders and government officials to the Farnborough Air Show. The state paid $7,340, while an additional $6,480 was covered by participant fees and private donors, including Microsoft. Inslee's administration said the trip produced results: Mitsubishi Regional Jet announced a flight test center in Moses Lake, Washington; four other companies announced Washington expansions; and Washington-based aerospace supply companies reported $1.2 million in export sales.

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WEST VIRGINIA

Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin traveled in May to Japan along with state and local economic-development officials. The trip cost the state more than $27,000 for airfare and hotels, with the costs for meals still yet to be tallied. Tomblin also led a trade delegation to Brazil last November that cost the state $42,173. The Brazil trip was focused on the potential development of a petrochemical complex and ethane cracker project in West Virginia. The trip to Japan was touted as a way to strengthen ties and attract new business investment.

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WISCONSIN

Gov. Scott Walker, a potential Republican presidential candidate, was traveling to Canada this week. He led a trade trip to London in February and took a trip to Germany, Spain and France in April. All were touted as ways to attract foreign investment to Wisconsin, although there have been no immediate results. The London trip cost the state $138,200. Costs have not yet been released for the other trips. Among those participating in the trip to Europe was Kyle Weatherly, president of the medical garment maker Solaris, a contributor to the Democratic Party and President Barack Obama. Walker traveled to Israel in May to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu. That trip was paid for by his political nonprofit, Our American Revival, and the Republican Jewish Coalition.

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WYOMING

Republican Gov. Matt Mead traveled with state university officials to Australia in March 2014 to attend the International Advanced Coal Technology Conference. Mead's office says the conference pairs his state with two other big coal producing provinces — Queensland, Australia, and Shaanxi, China. The University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources covered about $4,600 of costs.

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Source: Associated Press reporting in all 50 states.