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Group challenges anti-bridge proposal as legally flawed attempt to protect Maroun monopoly

From MLive.com
August 22, 2012
By: Jonathan Oosting

A group calling itself Taxpayers Against Monopolies says a proposal designed to block construction of a new Detroit-Windsor bridge contains legal and logical flaws that should keep it off the November ballot.

The proposal, backed by Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun, seeks to amend the Michigan constitution to require a public vote for state participation in any international bridge or tunnel project not already completed by the end of the year, including the New International Trade Crossing planned by Gov. Rick Snyder and Canadian officials.

“This is nothing more than an attempt by the Moroun family to use the Michigan Constitution to protect their monopoly in Detroit,” Brad Williams, vice president of government relations for the Detroit Regional Chamber, said at a noon press conference. “Nobody should use the Constitution to protect their own interests.”

The state Board of Canvassars is scheduled to review the anti-bridge proposal on Monday, but the new opposition group is expected to file its legal arguments later today.

Two high-profile attorneys retained by the group — John Pirich of Honingman Miller and Mike Hodge of Miller Canfield — suggested the proposal is legally flawed, does not meet the standards for a constitutional amendment and may put other Michigan bridge projects in jeopardy.

Pirich pointed to the ballot petition language, arguing that it does not include republication of at least three existing constitutional provisions that would be altered or abrogated, as required by state law.

“This is a grave error and should result in the board having no difficulty in not certifying this petition,” he said.

Mike Hodge of Miller Canfield said the proposal includes sloppy language that could jeopardize dozens of bridge projects around the state.

Specifically, the proposal would require a public vote for any international crossing, but it loosely defines such a crossing as “any bridge or tunnel which is not open to the public and serving traffic” by the end of the year.

“Inadvertantly or purposefully, this effects every bridge that is under construction in Michigan or any bridge planned to be developed,” Hodge said, noting that the definition does not include any references to geography or jurisdiction.

Andy Johnston, vice president of government affairs for the Grand Rapids Regional Chamber, said the proposal could threaten several major construction projects in West Michigan, including reconstruction of the 112th Avenue bridge over I-96, which would pave the way for a larger project that includes a new bridge over the Grand River.

“It’s really frustrating to be here,” Johnston said from a room on the fourth floor of the state capitol building. “It’s frustrating because this proposal is so counter-productive to moving Michigan forward.”

Hodge also pointed out that the proposal does not make exceptions for natural disasters or terrorist attacks on existing bridges, meaning reconstruction would require a public vote in a future election cycle, which could take as long as two years.

“The long and short of it is that this is an impossible proposal,” Hodge said. “It’s bad for Michigan. It’s bad for all of us, and it was not well-thought out when it was drafted.”

The People Should Decide, a ballot committee funded entirely by Moroun companies, contends that the $2.1 billion bridge project could end up costing Michigan taxpayers and is not justified by current traffic.

Spokesman Mickey Blashfield was not immediately available for comment this afternoon, but said in an earlier statement that he has no doubt the proposal is in compliance with Michigan law and dismissed the suggestion it would impact domestic projects.

“More than 600,000 Michigan voters signed our petition because they wanted a say in the matter,” he said.

Gov. Rick Snyder in June announced an interlocal agreement with Canada to form a public-private partership for construction and operation of the NITC, to be located roughly two miles down the Detroit River from the Ambassador.

Canada has agreed to cover Michigan’s upfront costs for the project and recoup its investment through future toll revenue. The U.S. General Services Adminstration is expected to cover the cost of a customs plaza and the bridge itself will be financed by investors in a public-private partnership.

The Grand Rapids and Detroit chambers are the only known organizations funding Taxpayers Against Monopolies, but they are reaching out to other NITC supporters to help pay attorney fees. Both groups support the new bridge as a way to strengthen trade relationships with Canada and protect one of the nation’s busiest international trade routes.

Update: Mickey Blashfield, director of The People Should Decide ballot committee, released the following statement following today’s press conference.

“This challenge is a gross mischaracterization of the plain meaning of The People Should Decide initiative, and it is nothing but a deliberate attempt to mislead Michigan voters with the hope that the voters will abandon common sense. The proposed is written in plain English and meets all legal requirements. More than 600,000 voters understood what it meant when they signed the petitions and joined the chorus of those calling for a say in how public money is spent on international crossings in November. The proposal is appropriately submitted to the voters for approval, and we are fully confident our language will stand up to this ridiculous challenge.”

 

Funds Exist to Perform Vital Service to U.S. Ports But 30% Spending Cut Looms

From the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition
August 20, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C., Aug. 20, 2012 – A potential economic storm is brewing around the nation’s ports and harbors because Congress may not adequately finance vital dredging programs even though there are more than sufficient funds available.

“America already faces a severe dredging crisis that undermines the effectiveness of our nation’s transportation system,” said Ed Wolking, director of the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition and executive vice president of the Detroit Regional Chamber. “Reducing funding by nearly 30% in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 will make a bad situation worse and perhaps far worse.”

Congress is now considering a six month continuing spending resolution that would fund the federal government at the same level in FY 2013 as was funded in FY 2012.

“Because of the national dredging crisis, dredging has received approximately one-quarter of its funding each of the last three years through emergency supplemental bills,” Wolking said. “If the continuing resolution funding level is set without the supplemental funding, it will mean a massive cut.”

Wolking estimates that dredging funding is thus facing a 30% cut.

A reduction in funding for dredging could be particularly damaging in the Great Lakes region, which depends upon shipping to help maintain and grow its massive regional economy – which generates 27% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product.

What’s particularly frustrating is that dredging – a vital maintenance procedure that is necessary to allow cargo-laden ships to reach and exit America’s ports – could pay for itself. Revenues from fees on cargo shippers called the Harbor Maintenance Tax are designed to be used to pay for dredging, but the tax brings in far more than is spent.  The Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund will soon have a surplus of $8 billion.

“America’s fragile economic recovery will take on water if imported and exported goods can’t be shipped to our nation’s ports because of inadequate dredging,” Wolking said.  “This potential calamity should not be occurring – the money is there to pay for dredging that is needed to keep our ports functioning.  All Americans – and many jobs – rely upon an uninterrupted flow of shipping.”

“We fully understand the need for fiscal prudence, but in this case it makes no sense to cut the budget of a program that is capable of completely paying for itself,” Wolking said.

About the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition

The Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition consists of more than 30 chambers of commerce, including the Detroit Regional Chamber, representing more than 150,000 businesses.  The coalition is dedicated to forging and growing a strategic partnership between the Great Lakes region and the federal government.  The Great Lakes region has one fifth of the world’s fresh water, 27% of the U.S. population and produces an estimated gross domestic product of $3.6 trillion.

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Funds Exist to Perform Vital Service to U.S. Ports but 30% Spening Cut Looms

Note: Press release issued by Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition

WASHINGTON, D.C., Aug. 20, 2012 – A potential economic storm is brewing around the nation’s ports and harbors because Congress may not adequately finance vital dredging programs even though there are more than sufficient funds available.

“America already faces a severe dredging crisis that undermines the effectiveness of our nation’s transportation system,” said Ed Wolking, director of the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition and executive vice president of the Detroit Regional Chamber. “Reducing funding by nearly 30% in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 will make a bad situation worse and perhaps far worse.”

Congress is now considering a six month continuing spending resolution that would fund the federal government at the same level in FY 2013 as was funded in FY 2012.

“Because of the national dredging crisis, dredging has received approximately one-quarter of its funding each of the last three years through emergency supplemental bills,” Wolking said. “If the continuing resolution funding level is set without the supplemental funding, it will mean a massive cut.”

Wolking estimates that dredging funding is thus facing a 30% cut.

A reduction in funding for dredging could be particularly damaging in the Great Lakes region, which depends upon shipping to help maintain and grow its massive regional economy – which generates 27% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product.

What’s particularly frustrating is that dredging – a vital maintenance procedure that is necessary to allow cargo-laden ships to reach and exit America’s ports – could pay for itself. Revenues from fees on cargo shippers called the Harbor Maintenance Tax are designed to be used to pay for dredging, but the tax brings in far more than is spent.  The Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund will soon have a surplus of $8 billion.

“America’s fragile economic recovery will take on water if imported and exported goods can’t be shipped to our nation’s ports because of inadequate dredging,” Wolking said.  “This potential calamity should not be occurring – the money is there to pay for dredging that is needed to keep our ports functioning.  All Americans – and many jobs – rely upon an uninterrupted flow of shipping.”

“We fully understand the need for fiscal prudence, but in this case it makes no sense to cut the budget of a program that is capable of completely paying for itself,” Wolking said.

About the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition
The Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition consists of more than 30 chambers of commerce, including the Detroit Regional Chamber, representing more than 150,000 businesses.  The coalition is dedicated to forging and growing a strategic partnership between the Great Lakes region and the federal government.  The Great Lakes region has one fifth of the world’s fresh water, 27% of the U.S. population and produces an estimated gross domestic product of $3.6 trillion.

Detroit Regional Chamber Announces Participants for Leadership Detroit Class XXXIV

DETROIT, August 16, 2012 – Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber announced the participants in Leadership Detroit Class XXXIV, a 10-month transformational leadership program designed to challenge emerging and existing leaders from Southeast Michigan to bring about positive change.

“Southeast Michigan has some of the most talented executives anywhere, and their leadership holds the key to our region’s future prosperity,” said Sandy K. Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber. “Leadership Detroit has a strong legacy of bringing together executives from around the region who are committed to making a difference. This year’s class is poised to drive the dialogue and build the relationships that will move our region forward.”

Class XXXIV features 69 executives from across Southeast Michigan representing a cross-section of the community, including business, organized labor, government, education, media, civic groups, health services and community organizations.

“We’re excited about the individuals participating and the organizations they represent,” said Dan Piepszowski, senior director of community leadership development at the Detroit Regional Chamber. “This class has the right balance and dynamic that will help build the strong relationships for the region to tackle the challenges ahead.”
Leadership Detroit provides opportunities for participants to foster and spark problem-solving discussions, while providing new views on key issues to lead the region to success. As it has since 1979, Leadership Detroit will continue its role in addressing, discussing and leading conversations important to the Detroit region. Click here for a complete list of the Leadership Detroit Class XXXIV roster.

About Leadership Detroit
Leadership Detroit is a community leadership program for executives in Southeast Michigan led by the Detroit Regional Chamber with over 1,800 alumni. Launched in 1979, the program aims to create awareness of key issues that affect the Detroit region and to challenge emerging and existing community leaders to bring about positive change in the community through informed leadership. For more information, please visit the Leadership Detroit web page.

About the Detroit Regional Chamber
With over 20,000 members and affiliates, that employ over three quarters of a million workers, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the largest chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission is carried out through business attraction efforts, advocacy, strategic partnerships and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit detroitchamber.com.

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Bridging the border: Influence of money (part 3)

From the Michigan Radio
August 15, 2012
By: Lester Graham

The arguments for and against building a new bridge to Canada at Detroit, for the most part, have been pretty one-sided. The owners of the Ambassador Bridge are fighting it and spending tons of money in TV ads.

If you watch TV at all, you’ve probably seen one of the Ambassador Bridge-sponsored ads criticizing plans for a new bridge.

“Governor Snyder says, ‘Send Canada the bill.’ But, the Canadians have other ideas.”

“Bureaucrats want to sign one for a $2 billion bridge to Canada. The Senate voted ‘no.’ Now, they want to go around them.”

“It will cost Michigan taxpayers $100 million a year.”

The Michigan Truth Squad at the Center for Michigan has gone over the ads. John Bebow with the Truth Squad says the series of ads has hit a new low.

“We’ve called dozens and dozens of fouls over the years at Michigan Truth Squad but the league leader is the Ambassador Bridge company and its related entitities as they fight, quite entertainingly, but quite erroneously, against the new international bridge crossing.”

Bebow and his team have reported on each ad as it has hit the airwaves.

“We have been following these bridge ads for more than a year and they are flagrant in their intentional errors that they are putting out there time and again in ad after ad.”

And the Ambassador Bridge owners have spent a lot of money, airing these ads. Rich Robinson keeps track of these kinds of political ads for the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

“Since the beginning at 2011, it’s been almost $10 million, $6 million in 2011, about $3.4 million in 2012.”

Robinson says the owners of the Ambassador Bridge have also been giving a lot of money to politicians for political campaigns, including the Chair of the Senate Economic Development Committee, Mike Kowall, a Republican from White Lake who did not forward legislation to build the New International Trade Crossing that Governor Rick Snyder wants and Canada will fund.

“There was some timely support to Kowall (15th district R-White Lake)  just before the enabling legislation was killed in the Senate Economic Development committee. A hundred thousand dollars given to the Michigan Republican party in September of 2011, just about three weeks before the enabling legislation was killed. So, those are eye-catching kinds of contributions that are on the record.”

Robinson notes this is all legal.

Governor Snyder has gone around the legislature and signed an agreement with Canada to build the bridge.

Democrat Rashida Tlaib represents the district where the new bridge is planned. She’s very critical of some of her colleagues in the legislature.

“You know, there should be a ReMax realty sign on the capitol lawn when it comes to Matty Moroun issues. They’re for sale. The money that is influencing positions on this public bridge, it reeks of corruption. It is really very telling of what green dollars can do to a public servant.”

The legislators who’ve gone on the record say they want more information before they can support the new bridge, even if Canada provides the money.

Businesses, chambers of commerce, unions and others say they support of the New International Trade Crossing. Rich Robinson with Michigan Campaign Finance Network says he’s surprised they’ve not aired more of their own TV ads.

“The business community has been a dog that hasn’t barked through the whole process. When I was collecting the most recent television ad data, I came up with a number, $270 thousand they’ve spent in four of Michigan’s markets in a television campaign, touting the benefits of the bridge.”

“When people ask where the new Detroit to Windsor bridge is headed, tell them, ‘Forward.’ More than just concrete and steel, this bridge is girded with hope and prosperity and thousands of new jobs.”

Robinson says a quarter-of-a-million dollars for airing that ad compared to the nearly $10 million spent by the Ambassador Bridge owners, makes the pro-bridge side a pretty faint voice.

Matt Grossman is a political scientist at Michigan State University.

“I think what’s unique here is the lack of organized pro-bridge constituency. That is, there’s no one to shoot down these arguments except the Governor and whoever is speaking on his behalf.”

Grossman says the pro-bridge faction doesn’t have to match the Ambassador Bridge owners dollar-for-dollar, but they need to do more if they want public support.

The Detroit Regional Chamber is in support of building the new bridge, but President Sandy Baruah concedes his group hasn’t spent any money on TV ads yet.

“We have not yet written a check to anybody for ad support, but I think we might if asked.”

While the business community and other groups who believe a new bridge would be good for Michigan’s economy are getting their act together, the Ambassador Bridge owners, the billionaire Matty Moroun family, have been getting a lot of support from members of the Tea Party. Baruah says that’s been a fascinating aspect.

“I think what’s really happening in the legislature is that the Matty Moroun Ambassador Bridge company’s PR campaign that has ginned up and hijacked the Tea Party support for their monopoly effort has scared some folks in the legislature. Because they’ve got to run primaries and then they’ve got to get elected and once the Tea Party gets mobilized, they’re a very powerful force.”

And that can be intimidating for legislators in heavily conservative districts.

“There’s no question that intimidation is the strategy of the Moroun family when it comes to trying to block this bridge,” says Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, a Republican, and the point man for Governor Snyder’s administration on the bridge issue.

As a former member of the legislature, he has some insight into what’s going on.

“You definitely have some people that simply are loyal to the Morouns. You have some people who are very afraid of the Morouns because of the way that they’ve spent with reckless disregard for the truth. And, when you consider a state representative or a state senator that’s in a very contained media market, it would be absolutely nothing for a political issue advocacy organization to be formed and to go in and attack a candidate.”

The Moroun family has given at least $775-thousand in political donations during the last two election cycles. Mickey Blashfield is spokesman for the Ambassador Bridgecompany. He says that’s really not a lot of money in the scheme of things.

“It’s transparent enough for you to document it and moreover what has always failed with that is how much Canada has invested to influence this legislature. Remember they’ve offered $550 million in exchange, this is what the letter said, in exchange for favorable legislation to allow the government bridge to go forward.”

Of course there’s a distinct difference between giving the State of Michigan money for a road project and giving campaign donations to politicians.

Bridging the border: Do we need a new bridge? (part 1)

From the Michigan Radio
August 13, 2012
By: Lester Graham

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder says we need a new bridge to Canada. It will mean more trade and more and better jobs. Not everyone agrees, especially the owners of the single bridge in Detroit which connects Michigan to Canada.

Eight thousand trucks a day cross the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

Canada is America’s biggest trade partner. More than 16% of U.S. trade is with Canada. That’s more than China. It’s more than Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom combined.

And a huge amount of that trade crosses this single bridge between Detroit and Windsor.

“A quarter of all U.S./Canada trade, which is the largest two-way trade relationship in the world, crosses everyday an 83-year-old bridge and it will not last forever,” says the Canadian Counsel General in Detroit, Roy Norton.

Canada wants a new bridge. In fact, it wants it so badly, it’s offered to bankroll the bridge and even Michigan’s costs of building new highway connections to it.

Why? Part of it is the age of the Ambassador Bridge. When I started researching this bridge issue, I found a 1927 documentary of the construction of the Ambassador. It was a silent film. That’s how old we’re talking about.

“It’s not prudent to just wait for it no longer to be functional and then to try to organize yourselves to do something about it because it’ll take five years to build. So, we’re acting now,” said Counsel General Norton.

But, it’s not just the age of the Ambassador Bridge.

There are three other major concerns.

  • First, there’s a bottleneck on the Canadian side.

Truck traffic is forced to go through the city streets of Windsor, Ontario, past shopping malls and offices. I counted 16 stoplights between the 401 expressway and the Ambassador Bridge. That slows delivery times for trucks.

Sandy Buruah is the President and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber.

“So, all of the delays, all of the congestion that delays just-in-time delivery for companies like Ford, companies like Herman Miller is really hobbled by this old piece of infrastructure.”

Manufacturers are heavily dependent on just-in-time delivery. Getting parts and supplies delivered just before you need them is more efficient, than stockpiling inventory. Companies save money… unless parts are delayed.

At a news conference to support the idea of a new bridge, Ford Motor Company Chairman Bill Ford talked to reporters talked about the need for a new bridge with a freeway-to-freeway connection.

“Any time you get hung up like that it costs you time and certainly costs you money. And so, this will be a huge boost to us as we send parts, power trains, and vehicles back and forth across the border,” Ford said.

At Ford’s River Rouge plant, workers assemble the F-150 pickup truck. Charlie Pryde with Ford explains how the delays cost the company as parts travel back and forth across the border.

“If you’re building one vehicle a minute, 60 vehicles an hour, and you’re gaining $25 thousand dollars an hour worth of revenue from that vehicle, if you had to close that assembly plant down for an hour, that would make you lose approximately $1.5 million worth of revenue. And that’s very difficult if not impossible to make up.”

And if manufacturers lose money, Michigan could lose jobs.

  • The second major issue is the Ambassador Bridge is the only crossing for commercial trucks. 

Most eighteen wheelers cannot use the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, because they’re too big. Another option is the Blue Water Bridge at Port Huron but that’s out of the way for many businesses. Then, there’s Buffalo, New York, another manufacturing region. Buffalo is considering adding its own new bridge. There’s real concern that if Buffalo builds a bridge, it might attract trade and jobs away from Michigan.

  • The third major issue is security.

Since the 9-11 terrorist attacks, border security has tightened. Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley is the Snyder administration’s point man on the bridge issue. He says the way it’s set up right now, it’s risky. There’s not enough room at the Ambassador Bridge to do secondary inspections of suspicious trucks. They have to go to another site.

“It’s the honor system. Can you believe that? Where we say, ‘You have to promise you’re going to go to this next location so we can do the inspection.’”

So, building a new bridge, would include space for inspections of suspicious vehicles.

All the advantages make the new bridge sound like the deal of the century for Michigan right?

The owners of the Ambassador Bridge say it’s a boondoggle.

Mickey Blashfield is a spokesman for the Detroit International Bridge Company which owns the Ambassador. He says there’s no need for a new bridge. Traffic across the border has declined and the traffic projections compiled for the state are wildly optimistic. He says traffic and tolls won’t support a second bridge.

“We wish the traffic would definitely be there. We’d have the most cause for optimism. But, nobody builds a bridge without the anticipation of traffic. And it’s certainly not a situation of ‘if you build it, they will come.’ Their studies show that.”

As for the bottleneck caused by all those stoplights on the Canadian approach to the bridge, he says surely Canada can find a much cheaper way to fix the problem than building a new bridge.

And as for the security question.

“The security issue is the last refuge of scoundrels.”

Blashfield says 9-11 proved terrorists can attack multiple targets.

Recently the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel received bomb threats on different days, shutting them down. He argues another bridge would not make commerce or transit any safer.

“The existence of a government bridge only would have necessitated one more phone call to undermine its effectiveness. It would have provided no degree of reliability.”

So, the Ambassador Bridge owners say there’s no point in Canada and Michigan building a second bridge across the Detroit River downstream. But, the Ambassador Bridge owners add, with no hint of irony, they will build a second bridge right next to the Ambassador.

“It’s terribly inconsistent,” says Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley.

He says the owners of the Ambassador Bridge, Matty Moroun and his family are contradicting themselves.

“The Morouns say a second bridge is not needed. And yet, they also say, ‘We’ll build a second bridge.’ So, they know it’s needed.”

But the Moroun’s company spokesman, Mickey Blashfield says they have a different motivation. It’s a maintenance issue for the company.

“We can continue to fix an older bridge, but at a certain point it’s more efficient to have less maintenance costs. And that’s the primary motivation for the Ambassador Bridge looking at a second span.”

But, Canadian officials don’t want a second span at the Ambassador site. It doesn’t solve the larger problems outlined above.

Make no mistake, it also is not in the financial interests of the Ambassador Bridge company to compete with another bridge for traffic and tolls, so the owners of the Ambassador Bridge are fighting every way they can think of to keep their monopoly on international trade traffic at Detroit.

 

Detroit Regional Chamber Vice President of Government Affairs on Democratic Primary for 14th Congressional District

DETROIT, August 8, 2012 – Today, Detroit Regional Chamber Vice President of Government Affairs Brad Williams issued the following statement on the result of the Democratic primary election in the 14th Congressional District:

“Congressman Peters earned a hard fought victory that speaks to our confidence in his ability to represent our region and state. With his track record of supporting good public policy, the Chamber believes he will continue to work on common-sense solutions that make Southeast Michigan more economically competitive and improve our quality of life.

In applauding Congressman Peters’ victory, we want to recognize Congressman Clarke for his service to our community. He has been a relentless advocate for Detroit whose leadership and vision have been critical to moving our city and region forward during some difficult times. Unfortunately, in this case redistricting, pitted two well respected incumbents against each other.  We regret losing Congressman Clarke as a voice in Washington, but look forward to working with him to advance our region in the future.”

About the Detroit Regional Chamber
With over 20,000 members and affiliates, that employ over three quarters of a million workers, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the largest chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission is carried out through business attraction efforts, advocacy, strategic partnerships and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit detroitchamber.com.

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Detroit Regional Chamber Vice President of Government Affairs on Democratic Primary for 14th Congressional District

DETROIT, August 8, 2012 – Today, Detroit Regional Chamber Vice President of Government Affairs Brad Williams issued the following statement on the result of the Democratic primary election in the 14th Congressional District:

“Congressman Peters earned a hard fought victory that speaks to our confidence in his ability to represent our region and state. With his track record of supporting good public policy, the Chamber believes he will continue to work on common-sense solutions that make Southeast Michigan more economically competitive and improve our quality of life.

In applauding Congressman Peters’ victory, we want to recognize Congressman Clarke for his service to our community. He has been a relentless advocate for Detroit whose leadership and vision have been critical to moving our city and region forward during some difficult times. Unfortunately, in this case redistricting, pitted two well respected incumbents against each other.  We regret losing Congressman Clarke as a voice in Washington, but look forward to working with him to advance our region in the future.”

About the Detroit Regional Chamber
With over 20,000 members and affiliates, that employ over three quarters of a million workers, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the largest chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission is carried out through business attraction efforts, advocacy, strategic partnerships and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit detroitchamber.com.

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