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

Mayor Mike Duggan says crime, poor schools and a high cost of living continue to keep people from moving to Detroit.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan speaks to "Detroit Today" host Stephen Henderson at the Mackinac Policy Conference on May 31, 2023 on Mackinac Island, Mich.

Michigan has gone through a number of significant changes in 2023 so far.

The state has been losing population year over year, shedding 43,212 residents between April 2020 and July 2022. Detroit also continues its population slide according to the latest U.S. Census figures, though Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan questions the agency’s data.

On the flip side, state lawmakers in the Democratic-led Michigan Legislature have been busy approving their priority items during the first five months of this year, as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed 38 bills into law since the start of the legislative season.

Duggan, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, Michigan Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks and Teach for America Executive Director Armen Hratchian all joined Detroit Today live from the Mackinac Policy Conference to discuss what Michigan and its communities need to do to improve quality of life for residents and attract more talent.

Listen: Michigan leaders discuss how the state is changing


State Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks represents the 29th District. She says the Mackinac Policy Conference gives politicians and business leaders the chance to discuss what levers can be pulled to help grow Michigan’s economy.

“I think this is an obvious opportunity to talk about economic development,” says Brinks.

Armen Hratchian is the Executive Director of Teach For America. He says Michigan needs to be doing more to invest in the lives and careers of teachers.

“We know the greatest bang for your buck in education, the greatest point of impact, is a high-quality educator with students,” says Hratchian.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan claims the recent U.S. Census numbers describing Detroit’s population decline are false.

“People are judging me based on what they’re seeing with their own eyes,” Duggan states.

Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist believes Michigan lawmakers can help alleviate hunger and vulnerability for students.

“Ultimately, we have an opportunity to do things — like really address hunger in our state and our cities by making sure that every kid has free breakfast and free lunch at school,” says Gilchrist.

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  • Detroit Today
    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.