"A Michigan Matters" focus.By Carol Cain

By Carol Cain
CBS Detroit

AT&T Michigan President Jim Murray talked about teaming up with other major corporations to form the Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition which hopes to toughen a state law outlawing discrimination to include gay rights, “We believe in encouraging and attracting talent to come to Michigan and stay here,” Murray, who is co-chair of the coalition which includes firms like Whirlpool and Steelcase, said during taping of “Michigan Matters.”

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“You can see the country is moving toward more openness on this issue,” he added.

Murray, who worked in Lansing politics before taking the top job at AT&T Michigan, is hoping to convince the state Legislature to add mention of sexual orientation  to Michigan’s Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act, which outlaws discrimination based on things like religion, race,  age, sex, height and weight.

Murray will be among 1,500 folks  from across the state traveling to Mackinac Island for the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual policy conference which takes place this Tuesday through Friday. It has been held there since 1981 and is where issues and topics are vetted and debated.

Murray said he will talk about the coalition with others  at the Chamber conference.

Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, also appeared on the show and focused on  the importance of entrepreneurship to the  state’s comeback.

Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, talking about its policy conference on Mackinac Island. (credit:  CBS 62)

Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, talking about its policy conference on Mackinac Island. (credit: CBS 62)

“It really is taking a page from our past,” said Baruah, referencing Henry Ford, who was a tinker and had a few failures before hitting pay dirt when he created Ford Motor Company.  The conference features national and local speakers.

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Baruah singled out Larry Weber, a successful serial entrepreneur, who is co-founder of Weber-Shandwick, the huge PR firm. Webber, who also started dozens of other firms, will address the conference and talk up entrepreneurs, social media and more.

Cedric Ballarin, French American Chamber of Commerce Michigan Chapter president and also vice president in the Michigan headquarters of auto maker, Faurecia, also took to the on “Michigan Matters” stage to discuss the importance of the longtime relationship between France and Michigan.

The French settled Detroit hundreds of years ago. The relationship between the two remains strong, thanks to the auto industry centered in Detroit,

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Carol Cain is the Emmy winning senior producer/host of CBS62’s “Michigan Matters.” She also writes a column in Sunday’s Detroit Free Press. You can reach her at clcain@cbs.com,