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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Great Lakes Metro Chambers Advocate for Infrastructure Funding, Trade and Immigration Policy Reform

The Chamber, along with members of the GreatGLMCC trip to DC Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition, met with members of Congress and their staff during a two-day legislative fly-in to Washington, D.C. last week to discuss key issues important to the business future of the Great Lakes/Midwest region.

More than 50 meetings were held with key members of Congress, including U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop, House Ways and Means Committee member; U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, chairman of the House Small Business Committee; U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, House Transportation Committee chairman; and U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters.

Coalition members expressed their support for infrastructure legislation and funding for infrastructure projects for the Great Lakes region. Discussion also focused on H-1B visa reform to encourage more high-skilled immigrant workers, and building a strong trade relationship with Canada as necessary to the economic growth of the region. In addition, Coalition members emphasized the importance of comprehensive energy policy.

U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Zeeland) joined the fly-in participants and discussed his role as chairman of the US-Canada Interparliamentary Group as well as the general atmosphere in Congress since the presidential election. His comments to the group echoed the message from several lawmakers — infrastructure, immigration reform, and trade are priorities, but when and how they will be addressed remains uncertain.

For more information on the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition, visit http://greatlakesmetrochambers.com.

Michigan Cements Mobility Leadership with American Center for Mobility Groundbreaking

One of the 2016 “To-Do” list items from the Mackinac Policy Conference is to support the establishment of the American Center for Mobility at Willow Run. A special event, held on Monday, Nov. 21, makes achieving that goal, well on its way.

Gov. Rick Snyder, U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, John Maddox, president and CEO, American Center for Mobility, and Steve Arwood, CEO, MEDC, as well as some of the state’s top automotive technology leaders were on hand to celebrate the official groundbreaking of the $80-million project in Ypsilanti Township.

“This is a significant day for Michigan,” said Glenn Stevens, executive director of MICHauto at the Detroit Regional Chamber. “We put the world on wheels and now we are leading the world in bringing autonomous vehicles to the world.”

As one of the founding partners of the Michigan Mobility Initiative, MICHauto worked tirelessly to keep the Center’s opening a focus for the state.

Stevens, who sits on the Center’s Land Services Board, has been instrumental in helping establish the legal and financial operating parameters for the testing site.

The Center, located on 335 acres at the existing Willow Run site, is designed to test new and emerging technologies and will play an integral role in positioning Michigan to lead in the race for the connected and autonomous vehicle development.

The Center will be available for use by private industry, government, academia, among others and will serve as a technology hub, allowing companies to lease office space, garages and other amenities.

Construction is scheduled to begin next spring with the Center being open for business by December 2017.

More information on the American Center for Mobility can be found at www.acmwillowrun.org. To learn more about the future of mobility and its importance to Michigan’s ongoing economic resurgence, visit www.planetm.com.

Detroit Regional Chamber’s Political Action Committee Announces Endorsement of U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow in General Election

DETROIT, October 18, 2012 – Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Political Action Committee (PAC) Board of Directors announced its endorsement of U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow in the general election in Michigan.

“Debbie Stabenow has been a tremendous champion for Michigan in Congress,” said Brad Williams, vice president of government relations for the Detroit Regional Chamber. “The Chamber is endorsing Senator Stabenow because of her strong support of key business priorities such as the New International Trade Crossing, small business growth and regional transit. Senator Stabenow’s leadership in Washington has helped move Michigan in a positive direction during very difficult times.”

The Chamber PAC Board of Directors regularly meets to identify and support pro-business candidates and policies that support the Chamber’s public policy priorities. After careful consideration, the Chamber PAC Board of Directors made endorsements based on responses to a Chamber PAC survey, input from PAC members and personal interviews with leading candidates interested in the Chamber’s endorsement.

“We would also like to thank Congressman Pete Hoekstra for his public service and his willingness to stand as a candidate for the U.S. Senate,” Williams said. “His approach to taxation reform and entitlement spending is critical to our nation and should be addressed urgently. We look forward to working with him in the future.”

For a full list of Chamber-endorsed candidates, visit the Chamber’s website.

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’s Political Action Committee Announces Endorsement of U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow in Primary Election

DETROIT, June 28, 2012 – Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Political Action Committee (PAC) Board of Directors announced its endorsement of U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow in the August primary in Michigan.

“Debbie Stabenow has been part of one of the nation’s most well-respected congressional delegations for years and Michigan is better for it,” said Terence A. Thomas Sr., Chairman of the Detroit Regional Chamber PAC. “She has been pivotal in efforts to leverage our state’s assets to create jobs, attract talent and investment. The Chamber has been proud to partner with her on events and initiatives that move Michigan forward.”

In the Republican primary for the Senate seat, the Chamber’s PAC Board of Directors was, after much discussion, unable to select a consensus candidate between Clark Durant and Pete Hoekstra, two capable and qualified candidates for this important national post. The PAC Board of Directors plans to make endorsements in the general election following the primary election.

The Chamber PAC Board of Directors regularly meets to identify and support pro-business candidates and policies that support the Chamber’s public policy priorities. After careful consideration, the Chamber PAC Board of Directors made endorsements based on responses to a Chamber PAC survey, input from PAC members and personal interviews with leading candidates interested in the Chamber’s endorsement.

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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