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Detroit Business Community Better Off Following Eight Years of Gov. Snyder’s Leadership

Southeast Michigan Businesses are Grateful for the Governor’s Relentless Positive Action


As Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder prepares to leave office on Jan. 1, it is hard to argue the fact that Detroit and Southeast Michigan aren’t better off than they were eight years ago. Consider this: Michigan has gone from 50 out of 50 to a Top 10 state for job creation, investment dollars and people are coming back to Detroit, the city has become a national hub for automotive IT and the rapidly evolving financial technology sector, state unemployment is the lowest its been in a decade, and the economic forecast for business growth is showing a positive upward trend.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Detroit region’s labor force is up 6.2 percent, employment is up 15.9 percent, and per capita income is up 34.2 percent since Snyder took office.

This comeback is due in large part to the Governor’s bipartisan leadership embodied by a deep sense of morality to do right by the people of Detroit and Michigan and his trademark “relentless positive action” attitude that has helped bring key decision-makers to the table on everything from Detroit’s bankruptcy to the Gordie Howe International Bridge construction.

During an interview with Craig Fahle on New Radio Media’s “Business Casual,” Gov. Snyder reflected on far Detroit has come since bankruptcy during an interview with Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah.

Here is a look at the top 5 ways the Governor has helped strengthen our city and region’s ability to compete in the 21st century.

Brokering the Grand Bargain and Detroit’s Exit From Bankruptcy

Arguably one of the most challenging times in the city and state’s history, Gov. Snyder was a key voice and stalwart leader throughout Detroit’s historic bankruptcy. Setting partisan politics aside, the Governor worked with lawmakers, community groups, the business and nonprofit community, and other key players to ensure the best possible outcome for the city’s future.

Signing the Grand Bargain into law helped lay the foundation to accelerate Detroit’s renaissance. Since that time, the city has transformed faster than many even thought possible. World-class companies like Ford Motor Company, Google, Quicken Loans and Bedrock Detroit, are investing in the city. New startups are growing every day, shaping diverse success for sustained economic growth.

Additionally, the region’s 25- to 34-year-old population has risen by 9.7 percent the past five years, the second highest growth among peers — outpacing the national average by 4.2 percent.

Listen to the Governor talk about the Grand Bargain during the 2014 Mackinac Policy Conference.

Bringing the Gordie Howe International Bridge to Fruition

Recognizing that Detroit is the busiest commercial land border crossing and an important trade and transportation route between Canada and the United States, Gov. Snyder was a key partner in helping to secure funding and support for the construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge from top decision-makers, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Snyder worked with lawmakers to help forge a deal in which Canada is paying to build the bridge and the U.S. customs plaza. Slated to open in 2024, the new bridge will help strengthen jobs and businesses on both sides of the border.

“… It’s not just about business, it’s the opportunity to ride bikes, to build cultural ties and educational opportunities. This bridge truly is another great connection between our countries that will only cement a relationship that has gone on for a couple hundred years already and will make it stronger and better,” Snyder said during the bridge construction kickoff.

Investing in Detroit’s Youth Through Detroit Promise

At a time when businesses and residents were leaving Detroit following the Great Recession, Gov. Snyder recognized the importance of investing in its future citizens, announcing the launch of the Detroit Promise in 2011, which guarantees two years of higher education or post-high school vocational training for all Detroit students who graduate high school.

Recognizing the success of the Detroit Regional Chamber in running the Detroit Compact, a four-year tuition assistance program between public and private universities and Detroit Public Schools, the Governor tapped the Chamber to administer the Detroit Promise on behalf of the Michigan Education Excellence Foundation.

Since that time, the program has expanded to include more than 650 students in 19 colleges and universities and more than 2,700 students in six community colleges. Funding for the Promise also expanded with the support of Mayor Mike Duggan and the creation of the city’s Detroit Promise Zone in 2015, which dedicates a portion of tax dollars to permanently fund two-year scholarships.

Strengthening Michigan’s Automotive and Next-Generation Mobility Leadership

Under the Governor’s watch, Michigan continued to strengthen its leadership and investment in automotive ingenuity and next-generation mobility innovation. As the first state to adopt comprehensive legislation aimed at making it easier for automakers to test autonomous vehicles on public roads without a driver, lawmakers worked on a bipartisan manner to ensure Michigan remains on the leading edge of a global effort to redefine the future of transportation.

A self-described “nerd,” the Governor was a critical enabler of the Mcity autonomous vehicle testing center in Ann Arbor and American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti.

During the 2016 Mackinac Policy Conference, the Governor launched the state’s PlanetM initiative, elevating Detroit and Michigan as a hub for mobility innovation.

“Michigan has always been the automotive industry leader, and as the transportation industry evolves, our state’s influence will continue to shape the way the world moves,” Snyder said.

By aligning all of Michigan’s autonomous and connected vehicle technology assets under one banner, the Governor took the message that Detroit is open for business to the international automotive and startup community, hosting numerous business development missions overseas with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the Chamber to promote more economic development and growth in the state.

The Governor’s support for the industry has led to multiple MOUs with foreign countries including Australia, Canada, China, the Netherlands and United Kingdom to strengthen cooperation in CAV (connected autonomous vehicle) development.

An Unwavering Champion of Civility

Through Detroit’s ups and downs, the Governor’s call for “relentless positive action” and “leading through civility” has not faltered. And in some ways, it has served as a rallying cry for Detroit and the region’s economic prosperity.

Recognizing that civility in discourse is crucial to solving problems, the Governor has repeatedly called for citizens and lawmakers to listen and embrace others’ opinions to find common ground on challenges that impact all Michiganders.

“Michigan can show the world how we can disagree without being disagreeable, how we can debate without personal attacks, and how we can solve more problems together than we can apart,” Snyder said.

Reaching out to the business community, the Governor published an op-ed in The Detroit News with 220 business leaders calling for civility in 2018 and again made it a key focus during his final keynote address at the 2018 Mackinac Policy Conference.

In his gubernatorial exit interview with the Detroit Economic Club, the Governor warned that the lack of civility in discourse today is the No. 1 threat to our state and nation’s collective future.

From road funding to education reform, job creation, and services to help the middle class, Snyder says compromise must come first.

The business community couldn’t agree more.

Thank you, Gov. Snyder for eight years of leadership, resolve and relentless positive action that has put our city, region and state on the path toward a brighter future for all.