Gov. John G. Rowland became chairman of the Republican Governors Association Friday, replacing Tom Ridge, who resigned as governor of Pennsylvania to coordinate the nation’s domestic anti-terrorism program.

Rowland has served as vice chairman of the RGA since February. His term will run through November 2002.

Republicans hold 29 of the states’ 50 governorships. They will be defending 25 of the 38 governorships that will come open in the next two years.

Like Ridge, Rowland was elected governor in 1994 after serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. Ridge and Rowland are friends.

“Republican governors are at the vanguard of positive, dynamic unifying change,” Ridge said. “No one has done more to exemplify and champion those values than Governor John Rowland.”

“I am confident that he will do a tremendous job at the helm of the RGA,” he said.

— Associated Press