MACKINAC ISLAND (WWJ) – Hundreds of Michigan business leaders and politicians will be on Mackinac Island for the annual policy conference hosted by the Detroit Regional Chamber. The conference on leadership and reinventing Michigan kicks off Wednesday and runs for three days.

WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick reports that Gov. Rick Snyder, looking at his agenda now that the budget is out of the way, will be at center stage.

“We have many other things in the pipeline,” Snyder told Tim. “Education reform, government reform, building a bridge to Canada. These are all important things I would like to see done as quickly as possible — by July 1st, if possible.”

WWJ’s City Beat Reporter Vickie Thomas will also be covering the conference. Vickie is reporting that, once again, public education will be a hot topic. Vickie spoke with the new emergency financial manager of the Detroit Public Schools, retired GM Executive Roy Roberts, who will be bringing his message to conference attendees.

“I want these young people to dream big dreams and think big thoughts. That’s my dream,” Roberts told Vickie, adding that when he looks at students, he sees himself.

“I grew up in a home where my father had 10 kids,” Roberts said. “I was one of 10. My mother died when I was young. I didn’t have books in my house because we didn’t have money. I didn’t have a father that could help me with my homework, because he had limited education.”

And, Roberts says getting an education turned dreams into reality for him, and that’s his hope for kids.

“We have to give them a chance and a choice. And that’s what I’m about. I’m here for that reason. I think that it’s the most important thing that I could do with the rest of my life.”

He also told Vickie there’s not a second to waste.

“It’s truly a crisis situation and it’s an emergency that we’ve got to turn around. We can’t waste one day, not one day.”

To hear the complete interview with Roy Roberts, click here.

Click here for complete coverage of the Mackinac Policy Conference.


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