Morning View: Mackinac Uncensored Engages State’s Hot-Button Issues

For the third year, more than 20 statewide thought leaders offered their unbridled opinion on eight hot-button issues during Morning View: Mackinac Uncensored on Friday, May 31, closing the 2019 Mackinac Policy Conference.

Panelists tackled everything from Michigan women in Congress and the roads, to the gerrymandering debate, cannabis industry, and business imperative of diversity and economic inclusion. Read what panelists said.

When and How: Fix the Damn Roads

“The longer we wait, the more expensive it’s going to get,” said Michigan Department of Transportation’s Paul Ajegba. “Our pavement conditions are at 78% [roads in good and fair conditions]. In two years, that will be down to 65%.”

Guests, including Ajegba and HNTB Michigan Inc.’s Regine Beauboeuf, discussed the road ahead for Michigan’s infrastructure and offered perspectives on road funding initiatives.

“Investing in our roads provides us a platform for rapid economic growth,” said Beauboeuf on the business case for moving forward with road funding initiatives and infrastructural improvements.

She continued to state that while the governor’s proposed 45-cent gas tax seems like a lot, most people are spending more than that fixing their vehicles.

Both Ajegba and Beauboeuf are hopeful that the full funding needed for substantial road improvements will be raised.

The session was moderated by Bridge Magazine’s Lindsay Van Hulle.

Influence and Impact: Michigan’s Women in Congress

“Michigan is looked at as one of the few states left that puts person over party,” said Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI 8). “We have a lot to teach Washington about how it’s still possible to work together.”

Slotkin discussed her experiences in her first Congressional term. She came to Congress from the Pentagon, where she worked as acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs. She has a strong passion for bolstering Michigan’s defense industry and brings a mission-focused spirit to Congress that she developed from her years working with the military.

As one of the 101 freshman members of Michigan’s Congress, Slotkin admits that she and her classmates have had to adjust to a cultural change. Her class is the youngest — and most highly female — ever elected in Michigan. These individuals are making Congress more transparent, “lifting the curtain” on Congress through social media, publishing their weekly schedule, and “actively listening” to their constituents.

Slotkin and her counterparts were elected with a mandate to “get things done” and are eager to work across the aisle to do so.

The session was moderated by Acuitas’ Sarah Hubbard.

Finding Michigan’s Future Political Leaders

“Politicians need to go out and find individuals who can identify with them, then train those individuals to run. We need to go out, find these engaged young people, and take them under our wing,” said Sen. Marshall Bullock II (D-MI 4). “Everyone is capable of running for office, as long as they are willing to put the work in.”

He was joined by Public Sector Consultants Inc.’s Selma Tucker to discuss the increasingly rise of a new wave of political leaders across the state.

Both speakers attributed this wave of young political involvement to a feeling of being “fed up.” Young people are looking at what is happening nationally and are not satisfied. They want to see their groups represented, and they want issues talked about that are not typically discussed.

When asked about the barriers standing in the way of young people running for office, Bullock mentioned the important of mentorship.

“When looking for the next political class, we are looking at people who are groundbreaking in their areas…people who are fed up with the system and never looked at themselves as doing this before, but now are,” Tucker said.

The session was moderated by Michigan Radio’s Zoe Clark.

Redrawing the Lines: The Gerrymandering Debate

“When the will of the people speaks through the voting process, it’s important to take care of it,” said Focus: Hope’s Portia Roberson, “Fair, transparent, impartial elections are what people want to see. Compromise happens across the aisle this week. We have a better chance of seeing this as a norm and not an oddity.

Roberson was joined on stage with Harbor Strategic Public Affairs’ John Sellek to discuss redrawing district lines in Michigan. Guests offered their insight on Michigan’s Proposal 2 — approved last year — which places the power to draw legislative district lines in the hands of an independent citizen-led redistricting commission.

The current system is set up for each party, Selleck said. There are possibilities with the new approach to redistricting along with certain challenges, Roberson said.

However, the bipartisan compromise demonstrated by the historic auto reform bill signing yesterday is promising for the redistricting conversation, demonstrated by a government willing to cooperate across the aisle for the good of Michiganders and the state.

“We’re at a fortunate time,” Shelleck said, citing the relationship between the governor and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield (R-107).

The session was moderated by Crain’s Detroit Business’ Chad Livengood.

Diversity and Economic Inclusion: A Business Imperative

“We need to look both at the data and hiring processes to really change the trajectory,” said Detroit Future City’s Anika Foster-Goss.

She was joined by Murphy Consulting Inc’s Leslie Murphy to discuss the business community’s work toward more diverse and inclusive workplaces is ongoing.

Murphy cited active surveys and intention statistics as helpful tools for benchmarking diversity and inclusion initiatives, with sponsorships, mentorships, and training leading efforts as emerging best practices. Constant awareness and evaluation are key to ensure that diversity and inclusion is top of mind in all facets of an organization, especially to prevent the pitfalls of things like unconscious bias. Inclusive practices are about more than meeting diversity quotas. Effective action is about placing the proper value on employees’ talent and humanity.

“It is about creating culture that values the differences and benefits diversity can bring,” Murphy said.

The session was moderated by the Detroit Free Press’ Nancy Kaffer.

Growing Michigan’s Cannabis Business

“[The cannabis industry] is one of the most expensive startups in the history of mankind,” said Michigan Pure Med’s Michael Elias, “It’s going to require quality improvement.”

Guests Elias and Robin Schneider, CEO of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association discussed the needs of the growing cannabis industry in Michigan.

Provisioning centers are running out of product, said Elias, noting that the industry is far away from having adequate supply to provide to patients who rely on medicinal marijuana. Regulating cannabis products, similar to the process food and drugs undergo, will be a step in ensuring quality control and safety for users.

However, Schneider predicts that in 5 years, Michigan’s cannabis industry will be well regulated and even have enough product to supply to other states. From recreational to cosmetic and medicinal use, “we will see the acceleration of the normalization of cannabis,” Elias said.

This session was hosted by Crain’s Detroit Business’s Michael Lee.

Detroit Regional Chamber Releases 2019 Mackinac Policy Conference To-Do List

MACKINAC ISLAND, May 31, 2019 – Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber unveiled its 2019 Mackinac Policy Conference To-Do List following three days of discussions featuring top state, regional, and national thought leaders. Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah and 2019 Conference Chair Patti Poppe, president and CEO of Consumers Energy and CMS Energy, announced the list at the conclusion of the 39th annual Conference. The Conference provided dialogue on coming together for One Michigan under the pillars of Prepare Michigan, Grow Michigan, and Love Michigan.

“The Mackinac Policy Conference is Michigan’s premier policy event. While we don’t make policy, we bring together statewide leadership to have honest and engaging conversations on the critical issues facing our state. The To-Do List is emerging as a substantive, impactful tradition of its own, challenging us to find new and creative ways to put actions to our words,” Baruah said.

The Chamber is proud to continue to host the nationally recognized Mackinac Policy Conference, convening more than 1,700 of Michigan’s top leadership. The 2019 Mackinac Policy Conference To-Do List includes:

One Michigan

  1. Advocate for political reforms, comparable to those identified in Porter and Gehl’s research, to reinvigorate democracy and strengthen the political center.
  2. Stress the importance of participation in the 2020 Census.

Love Michigan

  1. Drive the enactment of meaningful distracted driving legislation.

Prepare Michigan

  1. Commit to support December 2019 Launch Michigan report and recommendations.

Grow Michigan

  1. Ensure Michigan’s continued leadership in automotive and next-generation mobility by facilitating feedback from the industry and creating an action plan for growth.

About Mackinac Policy Conference

The Mackinac Policy Conference – the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual statewide event – convenes Michigan’s most influential audience to engage in collaborative dialogue on the state’s economic future. Since 1981, the Conference has provided a unique in the nation experience for Michigan’s top business, government, and civic leaders. As Michigan’s premier policy event, the Conference attracts more than 1,700 attendees annually to discuss key issues facing the state. The Conference concludes with an actionable To-Do List that transforms dialogue into positive outcomes to create a more business-friendly climate in Michigan. To learn more, visit mpc.detroitchamber.com.

 

Continuing the Civility Conversation

Announcing results from the Detroit Civility Project, The Detroit News’ Nolan Finley and Detroit Public Television’s Stephen Henderson hosted two interactive sessions on Thursday, May 30 at the 2019 Mackinac Policy Conference.

The project, originally announced at the 2019 Detroit Policy Conference, matched 80 participants from different backgrounds to practice the art of civility through meeting with their match for a series of conversations.

Finley and Henderson, whose friendship has remained strong after years of public political debates, hope to serve as an example for how to listen to those who share different beliefs. The session began with a video highlighting Nolan and Stephen’s relationship, and pairs who were matched for the project.

“The point of this project is to sit down first and get to know each other,” Finley said. “Everybody comes to their ideas the same way. You take a set of facts, you apply your personal values and experiences, and often, you come to different conclusions. But that doesn’t make you evil.”

Participants of the project joined Finley and Henderson in the sessions to discuss their meetups.

“There was a moment in the conversation when we found a topic that we disagreed on,” said the City of Detroit’s Monica Rodriguez. “But we were both able to respect the culture that we had created in that moment. We were able to center our humanity, and I will still think of my partner as someone I want to keep in my circle, and someone I want to think through ideas.”

Oakland County Commissioners David Woodward, a Democrat, spoke on his relationship with his match, Mike Gingell, a Republican, noting that it starts with a foundation of trust and respect. Although the Democrats have the majority on the Oakland County Board of Commissioners and he doesn’t necessarily need Gingell’s vote, he wants it because it’s important to have others invested in the successful outcome of policies.

“We’d like to keep this project going. We think Detroit has the makings to become a very civil community. And we hope this project helps,” Finley said.

The Detroit Civility Project is accepting a new group of participants to be matched for civil conversations at www.detroitchamber.com/civility.

The Detroit Civility Project is sponsored by Delta Dental.

Growing Detroit’s Startup Ecosystem

Crain’s Content Studio

Support to local, small, and midsize businesses will help grow Southeast Michigan. That’s according to Dynamics of Detroit’s Startup Community, a session hosted by the William Davidson Foundation on Thursday, May 30 at the 2019 Mackinac Policy Conference.

Panelists, including New Economy Initiative’s Pamela Lewis, Endeavor Detroit’s Antonio Lück, and Vectorform’s Jason Vazzano, offered their insights in a conversation moderated by William Davidson Foundation’s Darin McKeever.

Lück cited the findings from “Southeast Michigan’s Competitive Advantages in Entrepreneurship,” a report the William Davidson Foundation commissioned Endeavor to conduct on how entrepreneurs can grow their companies and others can help.

“The community has capacity for much more improvement,” he said.

Lewis said one barrier to growth is that too often people think only about tech companies or small neighborhood businesses when they think of entrepreneurship.

“Sometimes the high-scale group gets lost in the shuffle. It’s important to know they are adding to the economy in a significant way,” she said, naming Art Van Furniture, Amway, and Bartech Staffing as examples. “They all started small. We need to make the link toward the value of supporting small neighborhood businesses so they can be on that pathway to becoming large growth businesses. Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Forty-six percent of employees work in sectors expected to decline or grow slower than the labor force.
  • Businesses created by local entrepreneurs reinvest a greater share of their sales within their communities.
  • Southeast Michigan has about 20% more high-value entrepreneurial companies than the rest of the country, Lück said.
  • The region would increase local GDP by more than $5 billion annually if it created 60 new larger, high-value, entrepreneurial companies.
  • There should be more economic development strategies that support existing high-value entrepreneurial companies and increase their numbers.
  • Entrepreneurs should focus on creating quality over simply doing more.
  • Startup leaders should build networks with founders of larger, higher-growth startups.

This article was written by Crain’s Content Studio for the 2019 Mackinac Policy Conference.

Michigan’s Quad Leaders: ‘We’re Going to Work Together’

Crain’s Content Studio

Against the backdrop of Thursday morning’s signing of landmark auto insurance reform on the Grand Hotel’s front porch, Michigan’s legislative leaders gathered that evening to talk shop about the pressing issues still lingering as they move toward budget negotiations and reaching a deal on increased funding for the state’s declining roads.

On May 31 at the 2019 Mackinac Policy Conference, the legislative quadrant of Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-16), Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-27), House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-107), and House Minority Leader Christine Greig (D-37) convened in a session moderated by Detroit Public Television’s Stephen Henderson and The Detroit News’ Nolan Finley.

The group initially reveled in their recent success with the new reform package’s passage.

“When you tackled something that’s eluded the state for 30 years, victory has a thousand fathers,” said Chatfield.

And with the passage of the budget and road funding the next looming objective, Chatfield saw this progress as a positive precedent.

“I’m optimistic,” Chatfield said. “I am sitting here with what we just accomplished saying we’re going to get this done. We’re going to work together; we have an open mind on it.”

Despite the differences that exist between the parties, which were evident in the discussion, there were several overtures that underscored the mutual hope for compromise over the rest of the legislative session.

“Gov. Whitmer is my governor and she’s going to be my governor until she’s not elected, and I’m committed to supporting her in every way I can, given the differences that we have,” Shirkey said.

Greig pointed to exploring larger possibilities, such as municipal revenue sharing and education funding, as the budgetary process continues.

“There’s nothing that says this has to be a linear approach,” Greig said. “We have immense talents in these two chambers on both sides of the aisle and we can start looking at those issues at the same time we’re doing the other big things.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Shirkey revealed that in “three years,” which he later corrected to “2021,” he intends to create a ballot proposal reforming the state’s legislative term limits, which are currently the strictest in the nation.
  • The leaders made it clear they still had considerable space to bridge before reaching an agreement about how to fund Michigan’s roads. Democratic leaders were behind Gov. Whitmer’s proposed 45-cent gas tax increase. Shirkey replied to an inquiry about support from his caucus with a simple “nope.” A counterproposal of sorts from Republican legislators is not yet ready, Shirkey said.
  • All agreed that they would like to see a new budget passed in a timely manner, but leaders did not offer any promises. Chatfield said they would work “as long as it takes to have a good budget.” They didn’t predict a budget passage would come down to the line, however.
  • Shirkey also said he intended to assess the “original intent,” of Proposal A, a measure which is responsible in part for declining municipal revenues, to see if the policy has had “unintended consequences.” There wasn’t a hint about any of the reforms long-sought from municipal groups.

This session was sponsored by Consumers Energy.

This article was written by Crain’s Content Studio for the 2019 Mackinac Policy Conference.

Breaking Down The Digital Divide for Michigan’s Students

More than 360,000 homes in Michigan and 27% of K-12 students lack access to broadband internet in their homes. This digital inclusion discrepancy is posing a serious risk for Michigan students as the state ventures into the information economy.

On Thursday, May 30 at the 2019 Mackinac Policy Conference, panelist explored this issue and the action that needs to be taken to eliminate the infrastructure, affordability, and literacy barriers responsible for this gap. Michigan State University’s Johannes M. Bauer, Lt. Governor Gilchrist, and Rocket Fiber’s Marc Hudson, moderated by Merit Network’s Joe Sawasky, engaged in an impactful conversation on the digital divide plaguing Michigan students during the Digital Inclusion: #FixTheDamnInternet for Michigan Students session hosted by Merit Network.

The speakers reinforced the gravity of this issue and the risk it poses for a large—and important—population of Michiganders—children. Sawasky cited the digital inclusion issue, also known as the “homework gap,” as a crisis for the state.

In rural areas of Michigan, climate and distance remain primary barriers to internet access due to the difficulty and cost of installing the infrastructure residents need. Students are well aware of this issue and the negative effects it has on their ability to perform academically.

“We need to create the conditions for success no matter where you live in the state of Michigan,” Gilchrist said. “If Michigan’s children are better connected, our state will be better for it.”

Significant deficits in internet access are just as pervasive in urban areas as in rural communities. In urban areas however, the barriers are less related to access and more rooted in affordability and digital literacy. Based on a Rocket Fiber study, Hudson acknowledged the misconception that the digital inclusivity issues are purely access-based, as findings indicated that 40% of Detroit households don’t have a fixed broadband connection.

The necessity to close the prominent gap in internet connectivity has implications beyond underserved students’ immediate academic performance and into their career paths. Bauer describes the internet as a “general purpose technology,” access to which is necessary to support workforces in the information economy.

“For a long time it’s been underestimated how important the internet is to economic development,” Hudson said.

The speakers agreed that the path forward requires collaboration across internet providers, government leaders, and community groups to generate solutions for infrastructure, affordability, and literacy issues. Progress is being made in the research space, and Bauer mentioned a project underway to assess the impact of the homework gap in Michigan, with results to be released this summer.

“We need to think about community action to deal with community challenges,” Gilchrist said.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Talks Compromise and Michigan’s Fundamental Issues

Shortly after signing a historic auto insurance reform bill on the Grand Hotel porch, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer took to Michigan’s Center Stage on Thursday, May 30 to deliver her first keynote as governor at the 2019 Mackinac Policy Conference.

“We need to go back to seeing the humanity in one another,” she said. The reform of the state’s no-fault auto insurance demonstrated notable bipartisanship and compromise. Although it was a difficult process, the agreement showcased a conviction to focus on finding common ground to solve critical issues, she said.

From criminal justice reform to auto reform, Whitmer cited examples of bipartisan dialogue and cooperation. However, in order to move the state forward, there must be improvements to the fundamentals, said Whitmer— infrastructure, skills gap, and public education.

“When we focus on the fundamentals, we can find common ground.”

Key Takeaways: 

  • Ninety percent of the states’ roads should be in good or fair condition. Currently, in Michigan, 78% of roads are in good or fair condition. “In order to take us to 90%, which will take 10 years, we have to spend $2.5 billion in infrastructure. If we wait, it will be $3.5 billion or higher,” Whitmer said.
  • Whitmer discussed her proposed 45 cent gas tax as the solution, as opposed to corporate income, individual income, or sales taxes.
  • Several of Michigan’s 11,000 bridges face structural challenges and require attention. One thousand bridges have weight restrictions, 800 are in poor condition, more than 400 are serious condition, and 49 are closed, said Whitmer.
  • Michigan’s children are falling behind in 4th grade reading proficiency compared to the rest of the nation. Forty-five percent of adults have some form of postsecondary education. Whitmer noted that her budget will assist local schools and ensure that adults have pathways to postsecondary degrees or certificates.

This session was sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Keeping Up with the Shifting Labor Market

Crain’s Content Studio

Filling the Skills Gap: An Open Dialogue on Workforce Realignment, hosted by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, examined obstacles to hiring skilled employees in a rapidly shifting labor market and steps employers and others can take to address skills needs.

On Thursday, May 30 at the 2019 Mackinac Policy Conference, the session included panelists Washtenaw Community College’s Michelle Mueller, Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights’ Tom Lutz, DTE Energy’s David E. Meador, and National Skills Coalition’s Andy Van Kleunen. Detroit Public Television’s Stephen Henderson moderated the discussion.

Tuition isn’t the biggest problem in getting those skills, said Mueller. It’s lack of access to wrap-around services like transportation to and from school and work and childcare.

“Food insecurity is an incredible problem. We have a food pantry on our campus for the first time,” he said

Lutz said his company struggles to fill the jobs needed to complete projects. To overcome those challenges, it works with employers, Michigan Works! Association, and community partners to help applicants gain the skills necessary to get apprenticeships.

“We can bring tutoring right to them and give them times and opportunities to retake tests, (if necessary),” he said. The organization even has apprenticeships for high schoolers through its job fairs and summer programming. And to retain employees, it offers mentorship at journeymen and apprenticeship job levels.

Meador said Michigan has some 100,000 people it needs to put to work and 400 agencies trying to change the system to make that a possibility. For instance, DTE has 300 tree trimming jobs available. To fill those roles, it is starting a tree-trimming school in Detroit and another at a state prison to give people more opportunities and skills and put DTE on a greater path toward diversity.

Key Takeaways:

  • Fewer students are enrolling in high school, said Mueller. Programs need to deliver competency-based, contextualized developmental education that meets students where they are, allows them to move through curriculums as quickly or as slowly as they need and provides hands-on experiences.
  • Silos in funding need to be broken and then combined to concurrently provide more educational opportunities, job training, and basic needs.
  • Academia at all levels needs to rapidly respond to changing reading and math skills levels needed and improve foundational digital literacy skills.
  • Businesses must partner with schools and communities and discuss common skill standards and expectations; public dollars should then be directed toward those specific needs.
  • Companies need to understand that disabled individuals, such as those who are blind or on the autism spectrum, may be a great source of talent.

This article was written by Crain’s Content Studio for the 2019 Mackinac Policy Conference.

Barfield, DeVos, Van Elslander: Remembering the Legacies of Philanthropic Leader’s

Crain’s Content Studio

Michigan’s preeminent business people leave a legacy in their communities.

From the revitalization of downtown Grand Rapids, to the saving of a Ypsilanti neighborhood to securing the future of Detroit’s Thanksgiving parade, the sons of the men who made those contributions met in the same place for the first time on Thursday, May 30 at the 2019 Mackinac Policy Conference.

Impellem Group’s David W. Barfield, son of the late John Barfield; DP Fox Ventures LLC’s Daniel G.  DeVos, son of the late Richard DeVos, and A.A. Van Elslander Foundation’s David Van Elslander, son of the late Art Van Elslander, talked about the contributions of their fathers. WJR NewsTalk’s Paul W. Smith moderated the discussion.

John Barfield, who founded several companies under the name Bartech Group and was a longtime patron of the Parkridge Community Center in Ypsilanti, left an indelible impact in the neighborhood.

Richard DeVos co-founded the eminent direct selling firm AmWay and was notable for his efforts to develop Grand Rapids. From a symphony hall to a local college of medicine and more, DeVos’ impact was widespread.

Art Van Elslander started Art Van Furniture in a 4000-square-foot store and grew it to a company with more than 100 showrooms. He was most notable for writing a personal check that brought Detroit’s Thanksgiving Parade away from the brink of cancelation in 1990.

All three passed away in 2018. The panelists discussed the impact each left behind, and how it has shaped their own lives and the business they conduct.

Key Takeaways:

  • “We could not go anywhere in (Ypsilanti) where someone did not know him, black or white. He also had a personality that was very attractive to people. He was very kind, always willing to help, always willing to listen,” David Barfield said.
  • “I don’t think it’s about topping them or doing better than them; it’s carrying on what they started and continuing their legacy and teaching our children to carry that legacy as well,” Van Elslander said.
  • “My dad always came from the heart. His heart would sort of lead him where to go. His values, his dedication to his family and his business — that’s what drove him. Money didn’t drive him; fame didn’t drive him it just was a result of what he did,” DeVos said.

This session was sponsored by Consumers Energy.

This article was written by Crain’s Content Studio for the 2019 Mackinac Policy Conference.

Michigan’s Congressional Delegation Remains Unified on Critical Matters

Crain’s Content Studio

Michigan’s congressional leaders are working as a team to protect the Great Lakes, improve the Soo Locks, and maintain the state’s high-tech defense industries.

On Thursday, May 30, Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Gary Peters (D-MI) alongside Reps. Paul Mitchell (R-MI 10) and Jack Bergman (R-MI 1) on Thursday, May 30 at the 2019 Mackinac Policy Conference to discuss their shared priorities.

Stabenow and the rest of the delegation have spent years working to ensure Asian Carp, an invasive species, does not reach the Great Lakes by employing barriers in the Chicago River.

“Our delegation is laser-focused on protecting the Great Lakes,” Stabenow said.

That plan is to be implemented by the Army Corps of Engineers once funding is secured, as is another project with statewide impact — the Soo Locks, which in Sault Ste. Marie, located in Bergman’s district. But Bergman emphasized their cooperation didn’t begin with agreement on a few issues.

“It starts with building relationships before that issue arises,” he said. “Getting to know your colleagues, getting to know about them as human beings.”

That’s when a dialogue can begin in earnest, Bergman noted.

“We’re not a noisy delegation, we’ll get noisy in a room by ourselves at times, but when we come out, we pretty much come out on behalf of Michigan as a whole,” he said.

Those unified efforts can have an impact, Stabenow said.

“Sometimes you don’t have to be in the majority, you just have to have enough of a group — which we have — to be able to say ‘no’ if you’re going to be hurting the Great Lakes,” she said.

Key Takeaways:

  • While Michigan is the automobile capital, it has now also become the defense manufacturing capital, Mitchell said.
  • Stabenow noted how members of the Michigan delegation secured positions on defense-related committees in order to preserve jobs within Michigan, even adding 1,000 jobs as cuts were made nationally.
  • All the panelists — though they aren’t totally aligned — believe trade with Canada is a critical issue.
  • The Michigan Delegation also must work together to ensure regional partners in the Great Lakes support projects that impact Michigan and extend beyond its borders.

This session was sponsored by Ford Motor Company.

This article was written by Crain’s Content Studio for the 2019 Mackinac Policy Conference.