AUGUSTA — Gov. Janet Mills is attending the annual meeting of the National Governors Association in Washington, D.C., starting Thursday, including a Sunday dinner hosted by President Trump.

The Democratic governor’s trip marks a return to participation in the association for the first time in several years, as Mills’ predecessor, Republican Gov. Paul LePage, had discontinued the state’s membership. The nonpartisan association has 51 members, including governors of U.S. territories and states. LePage frequently attended meetings of the partisan Republican Governors Association.

During the meeting in Washington, the governors will attend working sessions on issues that include health care, voting integrity, technology innovation, building a workforce of the future, criminal justice reform and infrastructure, a release from Mills’ office said.

Mills also will attend a luncheon hosted by Vice President Mike Pence, a former governor of Indiana.

The National Governors Association focuses on the issues many states have in common, including economic development, homeland security, public safety, health, education and energy.

Mills also will meet with the state’s congressional delegation on Monday before returning to Maine.

The governor’s Executive Protection Unit had asked Mills’ office to not disclose where she is staying because of security concerns, Lindsay Crete, Mills’ press secretary, said on Thursday. Crete said that information would be available after the governor returns to Maine next week.

But Mills told a reporter for the Portland Press Herald on Thursday morning that she would be staying at the Marriott Marquis during her trip and “not at the Trump hotel.” She also said she believed some of the costs of the trip, both airfare and lodging, would be reimbursed by the governors association.

Room rates at the Marriott on Thursday were just over $236 a night, according to priceline.com.

The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram recently disclosed that LePage and members of his staff had stayed a total of 40 nights at the Trump International Hotel during LePage’s last two years in office, at times paying as much as $1,100 a night.

The lowest rates for the Trump International Hotel for Thursday were $450 per night, according to priceline.com.

Staff Writer Ed Murphy contributed to this report.

Scott Thistle can be contacted at 791-6330 or at:

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