Detroit Regional Chamber > Advocacy > Whitmer’s State of the State Address Must Focus on Economic Competitiveness if Michigan is to Win the National Battle for Population and Jobs

Whitmer’s State of the State Address Must Focus on Economic Competitiveness if Michigan is to Win the National Battle for Population and Jobs

January 23, 2024

LANSING, Mich. – Great Lakes Growth (GLG), a coalition of Michigan’s economic leadership praised for “bridging political gaps that have separated metro Detroit and West Michigan,” today called on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to focus her 2024 State of the State address on an agenda of economic and population growth that will help Michigan compete with – and beat – other states.

Founding members of GLG include:

Concerns about Michigan’s need to focus on growth are rooted in many statistical areas, as noted in today’s Detroit News, including, “troubling trends of slow population growth, lagging gains in income, struggling student reading scores and an insufficient number of adults with college degrees.”

GLG believes Whitmer must grow Michigan’s population through bipartisan efforts that bring people together in support of employers and the career opportunities they create. Whitmer’s speech should limit new costs and bureaucratic barriers for employers, embrace a predictable economic regulatory environment, and grow our talent pipeline by increasing flexibility, improving accountability on educational outcomes, and empowering parents to embrace the educational opportunities that best suit their child’s needs.

Statements From GLG Founding Partners

Wendy Block
Senior Vice President of Business Advocacy, Michigan Chamber of Commerce
“We are looking forward to Governor Whitmer’s State of the State address this week. Now is the time to double down on bipartisanship and we hope the Governor acknowledges and embraces this. Michigan is at a crossroads, and we have a historic opportunity to come together to work on those items that will bring people together, not divide them.  We need to make Michigan a great place to grow jobs and career opportunities. This can’t and won’t happen if we vilify job providers or make it harder for them to operate successfully in Michigan.”

Mike Johnston
Executive Vice President of Government Affairs and Workforce Development
Michigan Manufacturers Association 
“Retaining and growing population requires a competitive business climate. Adding new costs and bureaucratic barriers on job providers will not achieve economic and population goals, because other states are working hard every day to attract our people and our jobs. We look forward to working with the Governor and legislative leaders to build a competitive business climate.”

Jase Bolger
Policy Advisor, West Michigan Policy Forum
“Every child in Michigan deserves the quality education that helps them reach their full potential. We hope the governor will focus on increasing accountability to improve education results and empowering parents to help their children find and support the classroom that best develops their child.”

Brad Williams
Vice President, Government Relations, Detroit Regional Chamber
“Employers look forward to working with Governor Whitmer when she is on their side to promote a healthy business climate that will grow our state via economic prosperity. Limiting costs, growing our talent pipeline through flexibility and regulatory certainty would be welcome policy prescriptions from Governor Whitmer.”

Rann Paynter
President and Chief Executive Officer, Michigan Bankers Association

“We look forward to Governor Whitmer’s 2024 State of the State. Growing our state, growing our economy, and growing our population with individuals who are educated and ready to create quality and prosperous lives is everyone’s business. We have incredible opportunities to come together and create policy to accomplish this.”

Joshua Lunger
Vice President, Government Affairs, Grand Rapids Chamber
“Vibrancy and prosperity will determine the success of the effort to grow Michigan. To change course, Michigan must create a competitive environment and promote certainty and fairness in taxation and regulation. These conditions will attract investment, promote job creation, and support small business growth to enhance communities across our state and region.”

About Great Lakes Growth

The GLG coalition is led by Michigan’s leading pro-growth business organizations and supported by countless additional groups, job creators and individuals under several issue-based coalitions, including limiting local economic regulations, maintaining independent contractors, and avoiding benefit mandates on employers.

GLG was created in October 2023 as some in the Michigan Legislature rushed to enact dangerous economic proposals. The alarming pace of anti-growth policy proposals now before the legislature brought these key business leaders together under the GLG umbrella to create a unified voice for Michigan’s job providers and workers that provides a counterweight to risky economic proposals.

To learn more about the principles of the Great Lakes Growth Coalition and how Michigan can be a prosperous state, visit

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Photo credit: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images