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Michigan Congressional Delegation: In Digital Age, Michigan Positioned to Lead in IT, Automotive and Defense

By Daniel Lai

When it comes to Michigan’s economy, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters says he is bullish.

“This is an incredibly exciting place to live,” Peters said during remarks at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Networking Reception with the Michigan Congressional Delegation at the Skyline Club in Southfield on Monday.

Peters, who serves on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, kicked off the reception by informing more than 170 regional executives about the delegation’s work to position Detroit and Michigan as a leader in automotive, mobility, defense and information technology.

Peters spent the day visiting with companies in Macomb County’s Defense Corridor, including stops at the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and TACOM Life Cycle Management Command. The tour included meetings with representatives from General Motors, who are working collaboratively with Army researchers on a hydrogen-powered Chevrolet Colorado ZH2. The vehicle will be used for U.S. Special Forces operations.


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“We are at the cutting-edge of technology right now,” he said. “There hasn’t been another time in our history where we have been on the cusp of transformative technological change since the first car rolled off the assembly line, and it is happening right here in Michigan.”

Addressing the race for connected and automated vehicles, Peters said the Michigan delegation is working feverishly to make sure industry stakeholders have the tools they need for research and development.

“For self-driving cars to work, it requires machine learning. Therefore, the moonshot for artificial intelligence is self-driving cars. Michigan can be the epicenter of this development and our delegation is committed to achieving that vision,” Peters said.

He also emphasized the transformative impact of collaboration while praising the Chamber for its effort to convene regional stakeholders on issues important to businesses.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow spoke on the importance of urban revitalization and the critical role of Michigan’s agriculture industry on the U.S. economy.

“I always say Michigan doesn’t have an economy unless someone is building something or growing something,” Stabenow said, adding that increased development in Detroit is a positive sign for the state and region’s long-term prosperity.

“It is incredible to see so many people working so hard for Detroit, but we know we have to do more,” she said. “It only works if the neighborhoods are doing well, too.”

Acknowledging the need for federal funding to improve Michigan’s crumbling infrastructure, Stabenow said the delegation will continue to fight for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a key piece of legislation that provides federal dollars to protect the largest source of fresh surface water in the world. Additionally, Stabenow said the delegation is planning a tour of the Soo Locks near Sault Ste. Marie this year to call attention to their regional and national role as drivers of economic growth.

Peters and Stabenow were joined at the reception by U.S. Reps Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn), Dan Kildee (D-Flint), Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) and Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph).

Daniel Lai is a communications specialist and copywriter at the Detroit Regional Chamber. 

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