Detroit Chamber: Southeast Michigan Doing Well, But Lags On Regional Transit

December 6, 2019

WDET

Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

The debate continues over the need for a robust and fully funded Regional Transit Authority connecting all Southeast Michigan.

Wayne, Oakland, and Washtenaw counties are all moving forward on that issue together. But Macomb County, which narrowly defeated the last attempt to find regional transit, will sit this round out.

What does that mean for regional cooperation moving forward?

On Thursday, the Detroit Regional Chamber released its annual “State of the Region” report. It shows the region is doing well in many areas. But there is still a lot of work to do, and transit is one of those areas where the region lags far behind other major metropolitan areas in the U.S.

We have a lot of wins to celebrate,” says Detroit Regional Chamber CEO Sandy Baruah. “I think if we go back in time ten years ago and if any one of us had predicted that Detroit, the city, the region, and, frankly, the state would be in the position where we are now. I think we would have all said to each other that, ‘No, you’re crazy. We’re not going to make that much progress.’ But we have.”

However, he says, that progress has slowed a bit.

We are not progressing as fast, we’re not making as much progress, in the last two years than we were in the previous three-to-four… (there’s) a little bit of a slow-down,” he says. “We’re still growing, make no mistake. This is still a positive picture. But we’re not growing as fast as our peers in some of the national numbers.”

But he says that transit is an area that must improve to help people and businesses alike.

Our current access to public transit for the citizens of this region is completely inadequate and we need to do better,” says Baruah, who notes that Metro Detroit ranks worst among major metropolitan areas across the country. “We care about this because the best way to make companies that are based in our region, large and small, and the people in our region prosperous is to allow people mobility.”

Baruah notes that it’s harder to build out transit now that federal funding for those projects isn’t as available as it used to be.

Our regional would have been so much better now had we done this in the 1960s and 70s,” he says.

Listen to the discussion here.

One Detroit – Detroit Civility Project

May 5, 2019

One Detroit – Detroit Public Television

DETROIT CIVILITY PROJECT: A One Detroit report looks at Nolan and Stephen’s Detroit Civility Project, launched with the Detroit Regional Chamber at its 2019 Detroit Policy Conference. The team talks about the project’s goal of getting people who disagree to sit down together and try to understand each other.

View the full article

Detroit Regional Chamber Announces Gubernatorial Primary Poll Findings, To Host First Bipartisan Debate

DETROIT (April 26, 2018) – The Detroit Regional Chamber Political Action Committee (PAC) will host the first debate featuring both the top Democratic and Republican candidates for Michigan governor at the 2018 Mackinac Policy Conference on Mackinac Island. The debate will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 31 in Grand Hotel’s Theatre.

The top three candidates for each party’s nomination were identified by a poll commissioned by the Detroit Regional Chamber PAC and conducted by Glengariff Group Inc. in April. The poll was a research survey of public opinion from 800 Michigan primary election voters, 400 from each party. The results do not necessarily reflect the views of the Chamber or its PAC.

Republican candidates who will participate in the debate and the percentage of voters who say they are supporting each candidate in the primary are:

  • Brian Calley, Lieutenant Governor, State of Michigan (23 percent)
  • Patrick Colbeck, Senator, State of Michigan (4.3 percent)
  • Bill Schuette, Attorney General, State of Michigan (36.3 percent)

(34 percent of Republican primary voters surveyed indicated that they are undecided.)

Democratic candidates who will participate in the debate are:

  • Abdul El-Sayed, Former Executive Director, Health Department, City of Detroit (6.5 percent)
  • Shri Thanedar, Author and Entrepreneur (29.6 percent)
  • Gretchen Whitmer, Former Senator, State of Michigan (26.3 percent)

(34.8 percent of Democratic primary voters surveyed indicated that they are undecided.)

“We appreciate the fact that candidates in both parties are participating in multiple debates to help voters decide. But, with this event, we are trying to do more than just narrow down a field. We want to help Michigan choose its next governor,” said Brad Williams, vice president of Government Relations for the Chamber. “The Mackinac Policy Conference has long influenced major statewide races and we expect that this debate will have a similar impact on the 2018 election.”

The candidates will be moderated by the Detroit Public Television (DPTV) “MiWeek” co-hosts Nolan Finley, Stephen Henderson and Christy McDonald. The debate audience will be comprised exclusively of Conference attendees. A separate ticket is required to attend the debate and the proceeds benefit the Chamber’s PAC. DPTV will livestream the debate at mpc.detroitchamber.com.

COMPLETE GUBERNATORIAL RACE POLL FINDINGS AVAILABLE ONLINE

The in-depth results of the poll’s findings on the governor’s race, commissioned by the Detroit Regional Chamber PAC, can be found at detroitchamber.com/poll-findings. The initial analysis conducted by Glengariff Group Inc. in April includes:

“The Democratic race is a toss up at this point with Thanedar’s television advertising paying dividends in Wayne County where Gretchen Whitmer is simply unknown yet.  We’re in the early stages of this race.  But Thanedar’s early television buy has made him a strong competitor early in the race,” said Richard Czuba, founder of Glengariff Group Inc.

“The Republican primary is very much a two-person race at this point with the difference being viewers of Fox News, who are going disproportionately for Bill Schuette, while Republicans who get their news from sources other than Fox are breaking relatively even between Schuette and Calley,” added Czuba.

For more information on the Mackinac Policy Conference, visit mpc.detroitchamber.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wes Moore: Inclusive, Broad and Transparent Conversations Matter

Taking Michigan’s Center Stage, renowned social advocate Wes Moore, CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation and best-selling author of “The Work: My Search for a Life That Matters,” shared his personal journey from poverty to dedicating his life to improving the lives of underprivileged youth and veterans. Moore explained that inclusion is the first step to shrink the opportunity gap and enhance quality of life in communities that feel left behind.

Key Takeaways:

  • With various instances of public discourse between police and minority youth in the country, it is important to acknowledge and understand the state of the neighborhoods these instances are taking place in. If the context in which this discourse exists in is not understood, then the real changes that are needed will not be made.
  • Innovation and change is happening faster than we can realize, but for an individual that lives in underserved communities in Michigan or the country, he or she cannot tell.
  • It is important to never forget about who it is that we need to fight for and who it is we need to be remembering because there will never be inclusive conversations if only a sliver of the population’s voices are heard.
  • When decisions are made for the future of Michigan’s neighborhoods–inclusive, broad and transparent conversations matter.
  • Communities should feel a sense of inclusion and that they are part of important conversations.
  • Poverty is a function of systemic action and choice. It was not one action that led to it, therefore it will not take one action to solve it. A collection of entities is needed to address these issues and if government and philanthropy come together, solutions can be found.
  • When looking at education in impoverished communities, the quality of kids’ education and access to opportunity must be first and foremost when decisions are made.

“There is not a single issue that the folks in this room could not make something happen on. There’s that level of influence, power and significance here,” Moore told Conference attendees. “The future of Michigan will not be bright unless we are being very deliberate about what it means for areas like Flint, and areas like Saginaw and the Upper Peninsula and Detroit.”

Following Moore’s keynote address, Stephen Henderson, editorial page editor for the Detroit Free Press, joined him on stage for a one-on-one conversation. This session was sponsored by PNC Bank and falls under the Conference pillar of increasing economic opportunity.