Detroit Evening Report: Community stakeholders gather at Mackinac Policy Conference to discuss Michigan’s future

Listen to the latest episode of the “Detroit Evening Report” podcast.

Today the Detroit Evening Report comes to you from Mackinac Island in the middle of Lake Huron as the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference is underway.

The annual event brings together government officials and business leaders from across Michigan to talk about the future of the state. Attendees will hear presentations by keynote speakers such as Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

You might be asking why is this important for Detroiters. The conference brings together leaders with the primary purpose of getting them to talk with one another with fewer distractions than normal — because they’re on an island — five hours away from Detroit. Attendees speak about problems, policies and possible solutions. Some of the groundwork laid to create “the Grand Bargain” to bring Detroit out of bankruptcy was reportedly completed during the 2014 conference.

One of the first sessions Wednesday was on how to give everyone in the state equitable opportunity when it comes to good jobs. Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist said more attention needs to be paid to create better educational opportunities. Gilchrist reminded the audience of the theme of this year’s Mackinac Policy Conference, which is “The Power of ‘And.’”

“You get more when you add and multiply than you do when you subtract and divide,” Gilchrist says.

Read: Duggan, Lt. Gov. Gilchrist, more talk population loss, policy reform at Mackinac Policy Conference

Gilcrhist shared he and Whitmer are focusing on what they can do to grow the population of the state of Michigan. Part of that effort is to make sure the state is inclusive and folks feel welcomed. Towards that end, he says Michigan’s civil rights laws have been expanded and women have full access to their reproductive freedom.

Other headlines for May 31, 2023:

Do you have a community story we should tell? Let us know in an email at

Trusted, accurate, up-to-date.

WDET strives to make our journalism accessible to everyone. As a public media institution, we maintain our journalistic integrity through independent support from readers like you. If you value WDET as your source of news, music and conversation, please make a gift today.

Donate today »


  • Jerome Vaughn
    Jerome Vaughn is News Director at 101.9 WDET. His interest in news reporting began when he was five years old, after his mom bought him a yellow Panasonic ball and chain radio.