Detroit Regional Chamber > Advocacy > Southeast Michigan County Leaders on Progress of Detroit Region During Annual Chamber Event

Southeast Michigan County Leaders on Progress of Detroit Region During Annual Chamber Event

May 8, 2024

During the Detroit Regional Chamber’s 2024 Meet Southeast Michigan’s County Leaders event, Southeast Michigan County Executives Dave Coulter, Warren Evans, and Mark Hackel spoke on the positive impact of their regional collaboration while acknowledging the struggles their constituents face and the work that remains to be done in improving the Detroit Region’s economy and engaging the public in politics.

On Creating a Thriving Detroit Region

Moderated by CBS and the Detroit Free Press’ Carol Cain, the executives began the program with a county status report. All executives agreed their respective counties are doing well and are feeling optimistic about progress – especially coming off the heels of the NFL Draft. But they said there is still work needed to solidify Detroit as an attractive place to do business. Coulter explained the executives’ important roles of supporting Michiganders to reshape the economy and make it more competitive.

“… the economy is changing in dramatic ways, globally, and here in Michigan,” he said. “So, I feel like one of my main responsibilities as county executive is to make sure that our businesses and our residents are prepared for those changes by bringing those kinds of companies here so that our employees can get those jobs.”

On Cross-county Collaboration

Acknowledged as Michigan’s urban center, Detroit’s prosperity is just as important as each of its counties. Collaborating provides a much stronger platform for the Region to grow upon.

“We’ve worked with each other to try to figure out how do we solve problems with our counties prospectively, but we also understand that a lot of it transcends to the entire Region, and even throughout the state,” Hackel said on the collaboration amongst the executives as they shared updates on their projects including on transit, job creation, and support for small businesses.

On Engaging Michigan Voters

The executives also touched on the current political climate, the upcoming presidential and Senate races, and ballot initiatives. Evans mentioned a 2024 ballot measure for residents to decide the fate of regional transportation, stating that this not only makes the Region more appealing to event organizers but also will assist with the attraction and retention of young talent, which is another hot-button issue.

All executives agreed that Michigan residents are unenthusiastic, with Evans saying that candidates need to, “Give [them] something to get out to vote about. I’m not saying policies, man … I’m suggesting the average person doesn’t know the policy here. The average person is looking for someone who they think is credible to co-sign.”