Detroit Regional Chamber > Mackinac Policy Conference Media Coverage > Politicians and Business Leaders Gather for Annual Mackinac Policy Conference

Politicians and Business Leaders Gather for Annual Mackinac Policy Conference

May 29, 2024

Detroit Free Press
Clara Hendrickson
May 28, 2024

With summer around the corner, it means it’s time for Michigan lawmakers, business leaders and nonprofit executives to make the annual trek up to Mackinac Island for panel discussions focused on the state’s biggest challenges and some schmoozing.

The car-free, fudge-filled island may also see politicians announce new initiatives at this week’s event.

Last year, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appointed a new state official charged with reversing Michigan’s population stagnation. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan unveiled a plan to overhaul property taxes in the city. His proposal has since stalled in the state Legislature. But the Detroit Regional Chamber’s upcoming Mackinac Policy Conference at the Grand Hotel provides a venue once again for state and local leaders to lay out their vision for Michigan.

The theme of this year’s conference emphasizes unity: “Bridging the Future Together.” Suzanne Shank — the president, CEO and co-founder of Siebert Williams Shank & Co., LLC, a financial services firm — will serve as chair of the gathering.

In addition to Whitmer, Michigan’s other top statewide elected officials will be on the island: Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Attorney General Dana Nessel. Michigan’s U.S. Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow will also join them, along with half of the delegation representing Michigan in the U.S. House of Representatives. Many state lawmakers will also attend.

The lead-up to the conference has already brought some political drama. The Detroit Regional Chamber extended invitations to top-polling candidates for Michigan’s open U.S. Senate seat to participate in a bipartisan debate on the island. But both front-runners ― U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Lansing, and Republican Mike Rogers ― bowed out.

How to tune into the Mackinac Policy Conference

While the U.S. Senate debate won’t occur, the Mackinac Policy Conference has a jam-packed schedule with discussions on “Solving Michigan’s Housing Crisis,” “The Importance of Racial Equity in Michigan’s Population Growth,” “Understanding Gen Z’s Political Sway,” and more.

For those wanting to check out some of the panels and speeches, Detroit PBS will livestream the conference. Viewers can tune in on the Detroit PBS YouTube channel or online at

The conference takes place Tuesday-Friday.