MACKINAC ISLAND (WWJ) – Gov. Rick Snyder calls for action, not just talk, to come out of this year’s Detroit Regional Chamber Mackinac Policy Conference.
Speaking before hundreds of the state’s business, community and political leaders on Wednesday, the governor said he began attending the three-day event when he moved back to Michigan back in the 1990s — but eventually stopped coming.
“Because I came up for a couple years, two or three years, and a heard a discussion on regional transportation, and I heard that same discussion two or three years in a row, and nothing happened,” Snyder said. “And (out of) most of the discussion items, nothing happened.”
“And the point is, is most of our time and resources are too valuable to do something where nothing happens, to be open with you,” he said. “So that’s where impact is critically important. This is now a conference of impact; it’s an opportunity for impact.”
“…Let’s make sure we come out of this meeting with action items coming out of this meeting to get done,” he said.
Impact, along with STEM education and entrepreneurship are the three pillars of this year’s conference.
Snyder says Detroit has a huge impact on the rest of the state.
“The comeback of Detroit is critical to the comeback of Michigan,” Snyder said. “For Michigan to be a great state again, we need and we will get Detroit on the path to being a great city again.”
“And I’m confident we have great leadership coming into Detroit doing good work. Let’s partner together and get this done…impact.”
What can Michiganders do to help? Snyder said get in touch with your legislator.
“…We’re not done with the Grand Bargain for Detroit,” Snyder said. “We’ve got it through the House, we need to get it through the Senate…I hope that’s a great opportunity for you to talk to your Senator, to have a dialogue to impress how important it is that we get this solution put in place.
“Because think about impact; in our lifetime, to actually say we can get the financial of the city of Detroit reconciled, try to come up with a constructive solution — in a very difficult time for retirees, and I appreciate how tough that is, “Snyder said, “we can have a dialogue then to say ‘We’re not talking about the city of Detroit going downhill anymore’; we can all get on the page, on the same page in saying, ‘Let’s talk about the growth of Detroit,'” Snyder said. “Isn’t that something we should all aspire to?”
Snyder took a minute to credit the public-private partnership “Live Michigan” for their great work moving people into Detroit. The governor cited Midtown Detroit’s 90 percent occupancy rate as example of “doing” versus “talking.”
“Let’s encourage people to live in Midtown. People are striving to live there, and we need more housing. That’s impact, folks,” Snyder said.
Keeping people in Detroit and in Michigan will mean job creation; and creating a climate to support small business.
“We often like to talk about how we were the automotive capital of the world back in the early part of the last venture, we also had the title — and we never thought about calling ourselves that — we’re also the entrepreneurial capital of the world,” Snyder said.
“We’ve got it our DNA folks, we know how to create ideas, we just forgot about how to do it too much. It’s time to bring that back,” the governor said. “And how do you do that? That doesn’t happen overnight; and that’s a great topic to discuss, because we’re setting the conditions now to do it, but now we need to deliver on it.”
“And what do I mean by that? A lot of that is tax environment, regulatory environment — more important is the talent and how we interface with one another; how we encourage people to take risk…managed risk.”
Snyder said if you’re not taking risks, you’re doing it wrong.
The governor cited a recent entrepreneurial climate report that showed Michigan ranked forty-first for entrepreneurship climate back in 2008. In 2013, he said, we were sixth among the 50 states, and number one in the Midwest.
[Hear Gov. Snyder’s complete remarks above and visit this link for more Mackinac Conference coverage].