Business Leaders are Called On to Help Heal the Country When the Election is Over

By Kelly Weatherwax

When the election and inauguration are over, we will need to go through a healing process, as the country is more divided than it has ever been during an election, explained Ron Fournier, associate publisher of Crain’s Detroit Business. Fournier moderated a ‘National Election Outlook’ panel discussion between Truscott Rossman’s CEO and Principal, Kelly Rossman-McKinney, and President and Principal, John Truscott.

“There is a lot of anxiety among the vote. Institutions that are supposed to be keeping us together are not adapting to the demographic and economic changes as fast as we are being forced to change. In turn, we as a people are losing faith in institutions,” Fournier said.

People are sensing a huge divide, even while part of our economies are doing really well. Although, with all the change being experienced there is a lot of people still being left behind.

“We all, as business owners, have the power to help heal the country coming out of this campaign – part of it is how employees are treated, some of it is the little things that make people feel appreciated. Now, with the turmoil and the economy involved, a lot of people feel left behind, and we should do what we can to lift people up,” said Truscott.

Pointing out that it is a slower process in getting things done in Michigan because of reforms such as Terminance, Fournier begged the question “How do we fix this?”

“We need to continue to stay engaged long after the election and after the inauguration. The voter out there does not feel like they have the avenue to voice their concern and we have to make sure they know they do have channels. That’s on the legislators to get out and hold town meetings with constituents. I encourage all of you to hold meetings in your town to bring in your congressperson, state legislators to make sure the folks that work for you feel like they have the same access to the political leaders,” said Rossman-McKinney.

The panel was a part of the annual Middle Market CEO Summit, convened by Bank of America, Deloitte and the Detroit Regional Chamber to address issues facing middle market business leadership.

Additional coverage from the Middle Market CEO Summit:

Regional CEOs Tackle Innovation, Cybersecurity and Challenges for the Middle Market

Jeff DeGraff: Don’t Wait for the Next Best Thing to Pass You By, Innovate

Cybersecurity Starts at the Top: Why Middle Market CEOs Must Lead

 

Student Life at Walsh College Announces Newly Elected Student Government Association Board

Student Life at Walsh College Troy is proud to announce the results of their Student Government Association (SGA) election and its newly elected officers, who will serve a one-year term starting September 2015.

Julie Denha, of Saginaw, Mich., has been elected President. Allen D’Aoust, of Troy, has been elected Vice President. Erin Hayden of Clinton Township, has been elected Secretary. Larry Champagne, also of Clinton Township, has been elected Treasurer.

The SGA represents the interests of the student body through active and open involvement with students, student organizations, faculty, and administrators. SGA meets the first Tuesday of every month at the Walsh College Troy campus at 5:15 p.m. in room 201.

For more information about the association, please visit www.walshcollege.edu/studentgovernment

About Student Government Association

The Student Government Association’s vision is to increase awareness and participation of student organizations, activities on campus, and networking events. Student Government is a liaison with Walsh administration to address student body concerns, suggestions, and improvements.

Becoming a part of the Student Government means that you are excited, ready, and willing to lead students in securing their roles in the life of the college, and to support a high quality student experience!

Statement from Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah on the Defeat of Proposal 6 in the November 6 Election

DETROIT, November 7, 2012 – “The truth is not a commodity. Despite the tens of millions of dollars spent on misleading campaign ads in favor of Proposal 6, the facts never changed. The New International Trade Crossing will create thousands of jobs and millions in investment. It will position Michigan to thrive in the global economy and benefit businesses throughout the state. Those are the facts. Fortunately, voters saw Proposal 6 for what it was – a lucratively financed attempt to hijack the constitution and protect a billionaire’s monopoly with no regard for the rest of the state.

With this ballot issue behind us, hopefully now we can focus on continuing the reinvention of Michigan and build on the progress created under Gov. Snyder’s leadership.”

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 General Election Endorsements in Congressional Races

DETROIT, September 24, 2012 – Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Political Action Committee (PAC) Board of Directors announced endorsements in congressional races for the general election in Michigan.

“Having a strong Congressional bipartisan delegation fighting for us in Washington is crucial to maintaining Michigan’s economic recovery,” said the Chamber’s Vice President of Government Affairs Brad Williams. “The business community needs advocates who will stand up for our interests and get results. Through our PAC, the Detroit Regional Chamber supports candidates and incumbents who have demonstrated their support for pushing through the partisan gridlock and working on public policy that will keep Michigan’s economy on track.”

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.

Congress:
District 2: Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Zeeland)
District 4: Rep. Dave Camp (R-Midland)
District 5: Dan Kildee (D-Flint Twp.)
District 6: Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph)
District 9: Rep. Sander Levin (D-Royal Oak)
District 10: Rep. Candice Miller (R-Harrison Twp.)
District 12: Rep. John Dingell (D-Dearborn)
District 14: Rep. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Hills)

For a full list of Chamber endorsements, visit the Chamber 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 Endorsements for the Michigan House, Supreme Court

DETROIT, September 20, 2012 – Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Political Action Committee (PAC) announced endorsements for the Michigan House of Representatives and the Michigan Supreme Court for the general election. The Detroit Regional Chamber PAC Board of Directors regularly meets to identify and support pro-business candidates and policies that support the Chamber’s public policy priorities.

“The Chamber’s Political Action Committee selects the best candidates for elected offices who will help work toward creating good public policy that positions Michigan to prosper economically and moves our state forward,” said Brad Williams, the Chamber’s vice president of government relations. “With seats on the Michigan Supreme Court on the line, this election is critical to maintaining the momentum created by Governor Rick Snyder’s reforms. This year’s slate of endorsed candidates represents a talented and diverse cross-section of the state who will assist in continuing Michigan’s reinvention.”

The Chamber PAC Board of Directors made the endorsements based on responses to a Chamber PAC survey as well as input from PAC members and the Chamber’s government relations team. The Chamber’s top policy priorities include continued support of the New International Trade Crossing, repeal of the state’s personal property tax, implementation of a system of regional transit and increased investment in Michigan’s vital transportation system.

The Chamber-endorsed candidates are as follows:

Michigan Supreme Court:
2-Year Term: Justice Brian Zahra
8-Year Term: Justice Stephen Markman and Bridget Mary McCormack

Michigan House of Representatives:
District 6: Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit)
District 7: Thomas Stallworth III (D-Detroit)
District 8: David Nathan (D-Detroit)
District 9:  Harvey Santana (D-Detroit)
District 10: Phil Cavanagh (D-Redford Township)
District 11: David Knezek (D-Dearborn Heights)
District 12: Doug Geiss (D-Taylor)
District 13: Andrew Kandrevas (D-Southgate)
District 14: Paul Clemente (D-Lincoln Park)
District 15: George Darany (D-Dearborn)
District 16: Robert Kosowski (D-Westland)
District 17:  Bill LaVoy (D-Monroe)
District 18:  Sarah Roberts (D-St. Clair Shores)
District 19: John Walsh (R-Livonia)
District 20: Kurt Heise (R-Plymouth)
District 21: Dian Slavens (D-Canton)
District 22: Harold Haugh (D-Roseville)
District 23: Pat Somerville (R-New Boston)
District 24: Anthony Forlini (R-Harrison Township)
District 25: Sean Clark (R-Warren)
District 26: Jim Townsend (D-Royal Oak)
District 28: Jon Switalski (D-Warren)
District 29: Tim Greimel (D-Pontiac)
District 30: Jeff Farrington (R-Utica)
District 31: Marilyn Lane (D-Fraser)
District 33: Ken Goike (R-Ray)
District 34: Woodrow Stanley (D-Flint)
District 35: Rudy Hobbs (D-Southfield)
District 38: Hugh Crawford (R-Novi)
District 39: Klint Kesto (R-Walled Lake)
District 40: Michael McCready (R-Birmingham)
District 41: Martin Howrylak (R-Troy)
District 42: Bill Rogers (R-Brighton)
District 43: Gail Haines (R-Waterford)
District 44: Eileen Kowall (R-White Lake)
District 46: Bradford Jacobsen (R-Oxford)
District 49: Jim Ananich (D-Flint)
District 50: Charles Smiley (D-Burton)
District 51: Joseph Graves (R-Argentine Township)
District 52: Mark Ouimet (R-Scio Township)
District 53: Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor)
District 54: David Rutledge (D-Ypsilanti)
District 55: Adam Zemke (D-Ann Arbor)
District 56: Dale Zorn (R-Ida)
District 57: Nancy Jenkins (R-Clayton)
District 59: Matt Lori (R-Constantine)
District 60: Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo)
District 61: Margaret O’Brien (R-Portage)
District 62: Kate Segal (D-Battle Creek)
District 63: Jase Bolger (R-Marshall)
District 64: Earl Poleski (R-Jackson)
District 66: Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton)
District 67: Tom Cochran (D-Mason)
District 68: Andy Schor (D-Lansing)
District 69: Sam Singh (D-East Lansing)
District 70: Rick Outman (R-Six Lakes)
District 71: Deb Shaughnessy (R-Charlotte)
District 73: Peter MacGregor (R-Rockford)
District 74: Rob VerHeulen (R-Walker)
District 75: Brandon Dillon (D-Grand Rapids)
District 77: Thomas Hooker (R-Byron Center)
District 78:  Dave Pagel (R-Berrien Springs)
District 79: Al Pscholka (R-Stevensville)
District 81:  Dan Lauwers (R-Brockway)
District 85: Ben Glarden (R-Owosso)
District 86: Lisa Posthumus Lyons (R-Alto)
District 87: Mike Callton (R-Nashville)
District 88:  Roger Victory (R-Hudsonville)
District 89: Amanda Price (R-Park Township)
District 90: Joe Haveman (R-Holland)
District 93: Tom Leonard (R-Dewitt)
District 94: Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw)
District 98: Jim Stamas (R-Midland)
District 99: Kevin Cotter (R-Mt. Pleasant)
District 101: Ray Franz (R-Onekama)
District 103: Bruce Rendon (R-Lake City)
District 104: Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City)
District 106: Peter Pettalia (R-Presque Isle)
District 107: Frank Foster (R-Petoskey)
District 108: Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan)
District 110: Matt Huuki  (R-Atlantic Mine)

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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Biz battles ballot measures: Groups say constitution not place to set policy

From Crain’s Detroit Business – 8/26/2012

In legal venues and the court of public opinion, business groups are waging an all-out assault.

Their target: Keeping some proposals from reaching the November ballot and defeating those that already have a spot.

Major groups have put tens of thousands of dollars into opposition coalitions, and that’s likely to be just a start, as they fight measures ranging from collective bargaining guarantees in the state constitution, to increased renewable-energy mandates, to repeal of the state’s emergency manager law.

In most cases, it’s a “no” vote they seek. But with Michigan’s emergency manager law, keeping that law, as business supporters want, will require a “yes” vote at the ballot.

Not every group has weighed in against everything. But the groups share a common refrain: The state constitution is not the place to set policy in such areas as energy, labor or transportation.

“Michigan’s constitution is under attack by special interests,” said Brad Williams, vice president of government relations for the Detroit Regional Chamber.

As of Friday, four measures had spots on the ballot. They are the repeal of the state’s emergency manager law and three constitutional amendments that would ensure collective bargaining rights for Michigan’s home help workers and require a statewide registry; require 25 percent of Michigan’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2025; and add eight casinos in the state.

A hotly contested, union-backed proposal that would enshrine collective bargaining rights in the state constitution, prevent right-to-work laws and nullify other laws and reforms remained in play.

Today, the Board of State Canvassers was scheduled to decide whether two other measures would be on the ballot. One would require a public vote on the New International Trade Crossing between Detroit and Canada; another would require a two-thirds majority vote of both the House and Senate or statewide voter approval for tax increases.

Both measures have financial backing from companies associated with the Moroun family, owners of the Ambassador Bridge and other ventures.

Last week, separate groups of opponents levied legal challenges on both proposals, saying that, among other things, they fail to meet certain legal requirements for ballot initiatives and should not be approved by the board.

Defend Michigan Democracy, a group that includes the Michigan Health & Hospital Association, Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association, Presidents Council State Universities of Michigan and Michigan Municipal League, said the petitions for the tax increase proposal err in not publishing all sections of the constitution that would be altered.

The main financial backing for the ballot proposal has come from Liberty Bell Agency Inc., a subsidiary of Sterling Heights-based Oakland Financial Corp., a company of which Detroit International Bridge Co. Vice Chairman Matthew Moroun is chairman of the board, according to federal records.

Moroun has endorsed the proposal and encouraged others to support, saying it “cuts off politicians’ ability to raise our taxes and requires government to live within its budget — just like Michigan families have to do.” It will force government to control spending and reduce debt, Moroun said in an endorsement letter.

As for the bridge proposal, the Detroit chamber and Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce are founding members of a new opposition coalition called Taxpayers Against Monopolies. The group filed a complaint with the state canvassers board that the bridge proposal fails to republish constitutional provisions affected.

The group also says the ballot language could jeopardize newly constructed or planned state and local bridge projects around Michigan and subject them to public vote, not just affect the New International Trade Crossing or other international bridges or tunnels.

“We can’t afford to jeopardize rebuilding Michigan’s infrastructure because one company wants to protect their monopoly, and this proposal simply must be stopped,” said Andy Johnston, vice president of government affairs at the Grand Rapids chamber. The Grand Rapids and Detroit chambers support the New International Trade Crossing.

But Mickey Blashfield, director of the People Should Decide ballot committee and director of governmental relations at Detroit International Bridge Co., or DIBC, said in a statement that the asserted impact on domestic projects is “a gross mischaracterization of the plain meaning” of the initiative and “is nothing but a deliberate attempt to mislead Michigan voters with the hope that the voters will abandon common sense.”

He said the proposal has been appropriately submitted to voters and that the language will stand up to challenge.

DIBC Holdings has financed the ballot campaign. The bridge company has fought the new $2.1 billion bridge that would compete with the Ambassador Bridge.

One out of many

On nearly every ballot issue, on every side, are coalitions making jobs and economic arguments. But one umbrella organization, formed by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and other business groups, is leading the business-community campaign against the proposals involving union collective bargaining, renewable energy and home help.

Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution financial contributors include the Michigan chamber, Michigan Manufacturers Association, Small Business Association of Michigan, Business Leaders for Michigan, Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan, West Michigan Policy Forum and the Grand Rapids and Detroit chambers.

The coalition has been running TV and radio ads and is an intervening defendant opposing the collective bargaining proposal, in a court fight over the proposal’s right to be on the ballot.

Jim Holcomb, senior vice president and general counsel of the Michigan chamber, said that proposal puts at stake “the ability of job providers across the state to control their own work environment, as well as the operation of government.”

Also running a TV and radio campaign in opposition to that proposal is the recently formed Protecting Michigan Taxpayers.

The group isn’t identifying its backers other than to say they are state taxpayers, but it plans to raise enough funding “to be competitive and defeat” the collective bargaining proposal and to inform citizens “in all corners of the state,” said President Jared Rodriguez. He is also president of the West Michigan Policy Forum, a separate and unaffiliated organization that advocates pro-business policy reforms.

Supporters of the collective bargaining proposal say rebuilding Michigan’s economy includes strengthening workers and protecting collective bargaining rights and other aspects that they say have been under attack in Lansing.

Dan Lijana, communications director for the Protect Our Jobs campaign, said in a statement: “Collective bargaining helped save the auto industry because employers and workers came together to negotiate an agreement that kept the auto companies in business and saved jobs from being sent overseas.”

Numerous unions are among the proposal’s financial backers, including the United Auto Workers, Michigan Education Association, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Battle over energy

Two other proposals are drawing broad business group opposition.

One is the constitutional amendment that would require utilities to derive 25 percent of their energy from renewable energy sources by 2025. Under current law, utilities are required to hit a 10 percent threshold by 2015.

As Crain’s has reported, supporters, who include renewable energy and other businesses, labor unions, environmental interests and the American Wind Energy Association, say Michigan needs to keep up with many other states that have more aggressive renewable requirements. They say the higher standard will mean more business and jobs for existing Michigan companies and could bring some $10 billion in investment and new opportunities.

The Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs campaign’s largest supporter was the San Francisco-based Green Tech Action Fund, with other large contributors including the Natural Resources Defense Council Fund in New York, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters and other environmental and renewable-energy interests.

Opponents, including DTE Energy Co., CMS Energy Corp. and leading business associations, say the higher standard is a costly idea that will increase electricity prices. They say placing an energy mandate in the constitution sidesteps the responsibility and ability of the Legislature to set policy and limits flexibility to manage the state power landscape.

The opposing Clean Affordable Renewable Energy for Michigan coalition says reaching the higher standard could cost at least $12 billion and that Michigan’s current standard was set after lengthy debate and is working.

DTE and CMS have been the major financial backers of the opposing campaign.

Dues or no dues?

The second proposal drawing broad business opposition would allow unionization of workers who through a state program provide services to Medicaid-eligible individuals. They also would be listed on a state registry.

Such a registry previously existed through the Michigan Quality Community Care Council, and workers at that time became organized through the Service Employees International Union. But critics said the council was a way to provide dues to the SEIU.

State funding for the council was eliminated in fiscal 2012 and legislation passed earlier this year ended the collection of dues and invalidated the home help workers union by excluding private workers who receive a government subsidy from the definition of public employees who can form labor unions.

SEIU challenged the law, and a U.S. District Court judge ruled in favor of the union and ordered the state to continue the collection of union dues. The state is appealing.

Dohn Hoyle, co-chairman of Citizens for Affordable Quality Home Care and executive director of Arc Michigan, a statewide organization that assists people with developmental disabilities, said it’s important to provide a registry where people who are aging or disabled “can find trained, background-checked” aides. Coalition supporters include the SEIU and senior and disability rights organizations.

Hoyle said the home help workers are “grossly underpaid” and belonging to a union would assist them, but the ballot proposal “isn’t in my mind about unions. To my mind, it’s an issue about the registry.”

The primary contributor to the campaign is Home Care First Inc., an entity that incorporated with the state as a nonprofit in March and has the same Southfield address as the campaign. According to its articles of incorporation, Home Care First is organized to promote social welfare through activities that include educating the public and promoting public policies supporting Michigan medical assistance programs that provide home personal assistance services to elderly people and people with disabilities.

Hoyle declined to provide information on Home Care. He is listed as one of the incorporators.