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A few hours before Gov. Maura Healey declared a state of emergency around the catastrophic floods that tore through Bristol and Worcester counties this week, her counterpart to the north stood in front of a gaggle of reporters, offering to send any aid she might request.

"That's never a question amongst New England governors. ... We're always here to protect each other's backs,” Gov. Chris Sununu said from Southern New Hampshire University.

A few hours before that, Sununu made a different offer to any of Healey’s constituents who’d trekked up I-93 for a National Governors Association event.

"You can all rethink your life choices," Sununu said. "A lot of you came up from Boston. You probably feel like you've been paroled for the day, but you don't have to leave. You don't have to go home. You can stay in the tax-free suburb of Boston as long as you want, in the great state of New Hampshire."

Healey had planned to attend the NGA event — a series of discussions under the theme “Disagree Better” — but flood response diverted her. It would have been interesting to see her react to Sununu's appeal to Bay Staters, especially because it wouldn't be the first time she had to react to a New Hampshire pol using Massachusetts as a punching bag.

When Kelly Ayotte, a Republican vying to succeed Sununu, warned that her state is "one election away" from turning into Massachusetts, Healey declined to hit back directly, saying she'd "let the Republican primary opponents duke it out." Healey is, though, backing a Democratic contender, Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig.

In a way, Sununu's quip also was on brand for the day. “Disagree Better” is a project of the NGA’s chair, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, and it aims to push people beyond political polarization to actually solve problems.

The politicians who gathered — Republicans Cox and Sununu, Democrat Govs. Janet Mills of Maine and Phil Murphy of New Jersey — made the case that governors know how to get results. Cox contrasted that with Congress, which he said is home to game-playing and “a lot of showmanship.”

The New England governors (Needham native Murphy says he is “an honorary member of this fraternity, which gets me no votes in New Jersey, I might add”) have close ties, and demonstrated that with friendly ribbing. Their point, essentially: they'll compete, they'll disagree, but they'll work together.

Take Mills' example of cooperation across party lines: “During the pandemic, the people surrounding me were Republicans — Charlie Baker, Chris Sununu, [Vermont Gov.] Phil Scott — and we would communicate a lot. ‘When are you going to open your beaches?’ Not that you have much of one” – pausing to nod at Sununu, who governs the country’s shortest coastline – “‘When are you going to open your nail salons? When are you gonna do your golf courses?’”

Another way to a read Sununu's pitch is as his own spin on the values-based argument Healey makes for Massachusetts, whether she’s in Dublin talking up the state’s “appreciation for diversity, and just a spirit of working together” or reminding business leaders that “we’ve got good things going for us — oh, by the way, we’ll always make sure that a woman has a right to choose.”

As Sununu said Tuesday, “There is no state here that isn't struggling with workforce.” As states compete for residents and businesses, they’ll highlight different values.

You can see that tangibly, particularly when stuck in traffic. Tourism officials here got buzz for their Pride Month “Massachusetts For Us All” campaign, but we’re not the only state with billboards. I've spotted a New Jersey one looming over our biotech hub, and another on 93 North that simply said “New Job, New You, New Hampshire.”

Let us know if you’ve caught any state pitches during your travels.