2019 Legislative Priorities Focus on Growing the Detroit Region

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s Board of Directors recently adopted its legislative priorities for 2019. These 14 priorities, which are critical to economic development and growth of the region, include investing in infrastructure, support for a reliable regional transit system, maintaining a pro-growth tax structure, and creating pathways to postsecondary education and careers, among many other pro-business policy issues. This year’s priorities are aligned with the five pillars that guide the Chamber’s economic development strategy to position the region for global competitiveness.

 People:

  • Maintain a pro-growth tax structure that allows Michigan to compete globally for business and talent.
  • Encourage smart spending policies and long-term budgeting that prioritizes fiscal solvency.
  • Maintain a regulatory climate that is conducive to Michigan’s growing economy.
  • Support reforms for Michigan’s criminal justice system that reduce lengthy and costly sentences and provide age-appropriate rehabilitation.
  • Support policies that expand employment opportunities for chronically underemployed populations.

Community:

  • Increase dedicated infrastructure funding and lead efforts to prioritize regional transit options for the Detroit region.
  • Encourage regional policies that are consistent with state and federal law and balance local needs with economic growth.
  • Promote policies that increase access to health insurance while opposing policies that drive up costs for employers and individuals.

Talent:

  • Maintain rigorous K-12 standards that allow students to succeed in the global economy.
  • Create greater accountability for quality and siting in charter schools.
  • Increase postsecondary education attainment through policies such as increased dual enrollment and expanded, need-based financial aid.

Global Connectivity:

  • Create pathways to career opportunities in the automotive industry that develop high-skilled talent, including support for immigration reform and the attraction of international students.
  • Promote smart trade policy, including continued USMCA participation and resisting short-sighted trade restrictions or tariffs that inhibit growth.

Next-Generation Mobility:

  • Support policies that allow Michigan to continue to lead in research and development testing for next generation mobility solutions and other emerging industry sectors.

 

Detroit Chamber endorses Gretchen Whitmer for governor

October 17, 2018

WXYZ Detroit

The Detroit Regional Chamber has announced their support for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Gretchen Whitmer.

Whitmer released this statement following their endorsement:

“I’m so proud to have this endorsement because we need a governor who can bring both parties together to solve problems and get things done for the people of Michigan. I’ve got real plans to help our businesses grow and attract talent to Michigan by fixing our roads and infrastructure, making health care more affordable, and ensuring every Michigander has a path to a high wage skill. As governor, I’m ready to partner with the Detroit Chamber and everyone else who wants to make Michigan the place people move to for opportunity again. Let’s get to work.”

The Chamber originally backed Whitmer during the primaries.

View the original article here

Great Lakes Metro Chambers Push for Action on Infrastructure, Immigration and Trade

The Detroit Regional Chamber and the Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition met with members of Congress and their staff during a two-day fly-in to Washington, D.C. last week to discuss several recently proposed policies that will affect business in the Great Lakes region.

During the visit, the Coalition met with Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN 6), and Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), among others. This visit primarily centered around advancing three of the Coalition’s top policy priorities: the development of a robust, nationwide infrastructure plan; increasing high-skilled immigration; and supporting the preservation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Coalition members spent much of their time discussing President Trump’s recently proposed infrastructure, immigration and trade policies. The infrastructure policy allocates $1.5 trillion in investment that was proposed in February. The Coalition supports developing comprehensive infrastructure legislation and increased federal funding for key projects, including an upgrade to the Soo Locks.

Regarding immigration, the Coalition continues to support high-skilled immigration. Data shows that immigrants bring the talent, labor, and spending power needed to help grow the Great Lakes’ economy. According to a New American Economy report, in the Great Lakes region alone, immigrants account for half of the population growth over the last 15 years and drove almost two-thirds of the region’s working-age population growth in the same amount of time.

Finally, the Coalition met with representatives to discuss the preservation of NAFTA. Modernization is necessary to improve trade between the United States and its allies, but pulling the United States from NAFTA would be catastrophic for businesses across the Great Lakes region that rely on restrictive-free trade with Canada and Mexico.

The Coalition will continue to engage the administration on improving infrastructure, immigration and trade regulations to help grow the region’s economy.

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

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.

Keynote speakers for Oct. 19-21 Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium focus on economic revival in Flint; registration is underway

W. David Tarver, founder and president of The Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative (UEI) and chief organizer of the third annual Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium, to be held in Flint from Oct. 19 to 21, announced keynote speakers for the event. They are Andrew R. Highsmith, Ph.D., author of Demolition Means Progress, and Jeffery Robinson, Ph.D., an urban economic development expert from Rutgers University.

Registration for the event is underway at www.urbanei.org.

Dr. Robinson is an award-winning business school professor, international speaker, and entrepreneur. Since 2008, he has been a leading faculty member at Rutgers University Business School where he is academic director and senior fellow at the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development. The Center is a unique interdisciplinary venue for innovative thinking and research on entrepreneurial activity and economic development in urban environments.

Dr. Robinson’s research explores how business practices and entrepreneurship can be used to impact societal issues. He is particularly concerned about community and economic development issues for urban metropolitan areas in the United States and abroad. In 2007, he was selected as the recipient of the Aspen Institute’s Social Impact Faculty Pioneer Award for his research, service and teaching activities at the intersection of business and society. In 2011, his course, Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development, was recognized as a model of Innovative Entrepreneurship Education by the U.S. Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Dr. Highsmith is the author of Demolition Means Progress: Flint, Michigan, and the Fate of the American Metropolis, one of the most comprehensive works yet written on the history of inequality and metropolitan development in modern America. The book was published in July 2015 by the University of Chicago Press and won the 2016 American Historical Association Pacific Coast Branch Book Award. Demolition Means Progress uses the case of Flint to explain how the perennial quest for urban renewal contributed to mass suburbanization, racial and economic division, deindustrialization, and political fragmentation. Dr. Highsmith is Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine. A former Flint resident, he received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Michigan in 2009. His doctoral dissertation won the 2009 John Reps Prize for Best Dissertation in American Planning History from the Society for American City and Regional Planning History and the Urban History Association’s Best Dissertation Award for 2009-10. He is a specialist in modern American history, urban history and public policy.

UEI founder David Tarver will present the keynote address at the Flint Community Program and Reception, which will take place on Wed. Oct. 19 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Mott Community College Event Center. A Flint native, Tarver holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan and also lectures in U-M’s Center for Entrepreneurship. In 1983, at age 30, he launched Telecom Analysis Systems, Inc., a telecommunications instrumentation business, and sold it in 1995 for $30 million. Working as group president for the company’s buyer, Tarver then spearheaded development of a telecommunications group with a market value of more than $2 billion. He left that business in 1999 to devote more time to family and community service, ultimately returning to Southeast Michigan in 2007. He is the author of “Proving Ground: A Memoir,” chronicling his childhood in Flint, his educational pursuits and his entrepreneurial journey.

The Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium convenes entrepreneurs and thought leaders in business, academia, community organizations and government to facilitate innovative business solutions that bring economic opportunity and quality of life improvements to urban communities. Major sponsors for #UES2016 include University of Michigan-Flint School of Management, Mott Community College, U-M Center for Entrepreneurship, U-M Innovate Blue, Skypoint Ventures, and Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The complete list of sponsors can be found at http://www.urbanei.org/ues-2016-sponsors/.

New to this year’s symposium are the “Give Us What You Got” community pitch sessions that elicit business ideas, community improvement suggestions, and gripes from everyday Flint residents. This year’s event will also showcase the finals of two business model competitions – the Urban Infrastructure Challenge and the Urban Jobs Challenge. Winners will be selected and prizes awarded during the event.

Details on Urban Entrepreneurship Symposium 2016
 When: #UES2016 begins on Wednesday Oct. 19 with an evening Community Program and Reception. Thursday is the Conference Program, which will consist of speakers and panel discussions, and will be followed by a “Business Matrix” networking reception at the Flint Farmers Market. Friday’s “Accelerate U” Seminars Program will include compelling presentations on topics of great interest to actual and aspiring entrepreneurs.
 Where: The Wednesday Community Program will take place at the Mott Community College Event Center. The Thursday Conference Program will be held at the U-M Northbank Center in downtown Flint, followed by the “Business Matrix” reception at the Flint Farmers Market. The Friday “Accelerate U” Seminars Program will take place at the Mott Community College Regional Technology Center. See the UEI web site for details.
 Cost: The Wednesday night community reception is free, but pre-registration required. Registration cost for the Thursday programs, including the Conference and Business Matrix Reception, is $25.00. Registration for the Friday Seminars Program is $25.00.
 Registration: advance registration is required; purchase tickets online at www.urbanei.org.
 Event questions: for general questions about the event, please email info@urbanei.org.

About the Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative
The Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative, founded by W. David Tarver, a technology entrepreneur, Michigan native and author of “Proving Ground: A Memoir,” is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation offering programming and resources that encourage, facilitate and enable the development of for-profit businesses that explicitly and intentionally address the needs of urban communities.