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April 2: Mackinac Policy Conference Speaker Lineup Growing Quickly; CNN’s Paul Begala and S.E. Cupp to Debate Upcoming Elections

Chamber Adding National Thought-Leaders to Mackinac Policy Conference Speaker Lineup

The cast of speakers for the Detroit Regional Chamber’s 2014 Mackinac Policy Conference has been adding big name speakers, again illustrating the event’s status as one of the nation’s elite public policy events. Held May 27-30, the Conference will focus on the three pillars of education, entrepreneurship and impact.

Altogether, the Chamber has confirmed the following speakers:

  • Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO, Gallup Inc.; Author, “The Coming Jobs War”
  • Mike Duggan, Mayor, City of Detroit
  • Malcolm Gladwell, Author, “David and Goliath”
  • Joel Klein, CEO, Educational Division, News Corporation; Former Chancellor, New York City Department of Education
  • Rick Snyder, Governor, State of Michigan

To view more information on the Conference, including agenda updates and speaker biographies, and to register, click here.

Purchase Tickets to See CNN’s Paul Begala and S.E. Cupp Debate Upcoming Elections

Last week the Chamber announced new Mackinac Policy Conference programming in support of its issue advocacy and political efforts. Power Politics: Michigan and the Midterms will feature CNN hosts Paul Begala, democratic strategist and political contributor, and S.E. Cupp, host of “Crossfire,” as they debate the hot-button election issues. This event requires the purchase of a separate ticket to attend.

The Thursday evening event features two of the foremost national voices from both sides of the aisle analyzing the upcoming midterm elections in context of the larger political landscape. They will also debate key issues such as the final two years of the Obama administration, direction of the GOP, and the politics of continued reform versus organized labor in Michigan.

In lieu of the traditional PAC evening reception, Power Politics: Michigan and the Midterms supports the Chamber’s issue advocacy and political efforts. Corporate contributions can now be accepted. Download the PDF form here to reserve your spot today.

Bill to Fully Fund Communities and Schools After Repeal of Personal Property Tax Passes Michigan Legislature, Signed by Gov. Snyder

Governor Rick Snyder signed a bipartisan plan to make communities and schools whole after repeal of the Personal Property Tax on Friday, March 28, completing another successful step in making Michigan more globally competitive. Following overwhelming support by the Michigan House earlier in the week, Governor Snyder signed a new 10-bill package that has been designed to reimburse local communities for lost revenue after the original plan was met with opposition from local governments and school groups.

The Chamber has been a major advocate for the repeal of the personal property tax, which will effectively put Michigan manufacturers on a level playing field with global competition and make the state more attractive to site selectors, as it eliminates taxes on qualifying industrial and commercial parcels. To read more, click here.

Detroit Region Tops Silicon Valley in High-Tech Job Growth Rate

The Detroit region’s growth rate in high-tech jobs outpaced Silicon Valley, according to the 2013 Technology Industry Report, produced by Automation Alley. The report – which compares the greater Detroit region to other high-tech cities based on job creation, business development, innovation and education – shows that the Detroit region’s tech sector added 30,000 jobs, while Silicon Valley lost 10,000 in the same timeframe.

Other noteworthy items from the report include:

  • Employment in Metro Detroit is 6.5 times the national average.
  • Nearly 10 percent of total employment in Metro Detroit is tech-related.
  • Metro Detroit claimed the third-highest number of completed STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) degrees in the U.S.
  • The Detroit region ranked first nationally in the number of science technologies degrees and engineering technologies produced, and ranked second in engineering degrees.

To view the complete report, click here.

Chamber Advocating for Congressman Peters’ NITC Legislation to Fund Customs Plaza

Last week, the Chamber continued its advocacy for the New International Trade Crossing (NITC), co-signing a letter to House and Senate leadership in support of legislation introduced by Congressman Gary Peters which would authorize the construction of a customs plaza in Detroit for the NITC.

The letter featured signatures from a broad coalition including: Business Leaders for Michigan, Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan Manufacturers Association and Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce. The broad coalition reflects statewide support for the project, which will benefit the state for generations, significantly increasing Detroit’s and Michigan’s ability to compete in the 21st century global market.

In addition to the letter, Chamber CEO Sandy Baruah interviewed with Wall Street Journal about concerns regarding the delay in federal funding for the NITC. To read the article, click here. Helps Detroit Parents Make School Choices

As part of its efforts to increase access to quality schools, the Chamber recently hosted Excellent Schools Detroit and GreatSchools for a press conference as they launched, a website created to provide Detroit families the necessary tools to navigate the education landscape and make a quality school choice. By combining local data and national ratings from both sources, the website will allow users to compare schools across a multitude of measures and gauge how local schools rate on a national scale. To view the site, click here.

FirstMerit Michigan CEO Sandy Pierce Provides Leadership Insight at Inside the CEO Mind

Drawing on her experience as one of the region’s most successful and engaged business executives, FirstMerit Michigan Chairman and CEO Sandy Pierce shared her inspiring story last Thursday at Inside the CEO Mind. The event, held at the REDICO Conference Center in Southfield, drew about 60 attendees, again providing insight into one of region’s brightest business minds.

Pierce, a former chair of the Chamber board and current board member, shared her career story and lessons learned from her ascension in the banking sector. She highlighted the importance of strong leadership, the difference between leaders and managers, and the key to balancing professional and personal lives. In drawing on her role as chair of the Detroit Financial Advisory Board, Pierce also provided an update on city finances and highlighted the responsibilities of business leaders to support the communities where they live and work.

Inside the CEO Mind programming is sponsored exclusively by Talmer Bank and Trust.