MPC 2024: Media roundtable share highlights, takeaways from Mackinac

WDET’s Nick Austin sat down with Lauren Gibbons of Bridge Michigan, Clara Hendrickson of the Detroit Free Press and WDET’s Russ McNamara.

WDET's Russ McNamara (left), Bridge Michigan's Lauren Gibbons and Clara Hendrickson of the Detroit Free Press on "The Metro," Thursday, May 30, 2024.

WDET's Russ McNamara (left), Bridge Michigan's Lauren Gibbons and Clara Hendrickson of the Detroit Free Press on "The Metro," Thursday, May 30, 2024.

There is a lot going on at this year’s Mackinac Policy Conference. With so many lawmakers in one place, so many speeches, conversations and announcements, it can be hard for one news organization to capture it all.

So to help break down the highlights and takeaways from the 2024 conference, WDET’s Nick Austin sat down with Lauren Gibbons, Michigan government reporter with Bridge Michigan; Clara Hendrickson, politics reporter for the Detroit Free Press; and WDET’s Russ McNamara, host of All Things Considered, on Thursday’s special episode of The Metro, live from Mackinac Island.

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Gibbons says with the amount of power players attending the conference this week, it’s clear that it’s an election year.

“There’s a lot of buzz, there’s a lot of excitement; and we’re talking to a lot of business folks, a lot of politicos, who are really keyed in to some of these issues,” she said. “Overall some of the issues that are being discussed are issues that a lot of people are talking about. You know, high wage jobs, the economy, all of these things are going to be aspects of the 2024 election.”

Hendrickson says her biggest takeaway will be what comes off the island.

“There’s this tradition in Michigan where business leaders and politicians gather on this car-free, fudge-filled island and roll out the latest and greatest policy idea, and last year we heard Mayor Mike Duggan announce a land value tax plan that he wanted to implement in Detroit that has completely stalled in the state Legislature,” she said. “So some of the things that get announced here don’t make their way off the island.”

At this year’s conference, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced an ambitious statewide goal of increasing housing to tackle the state’s affordable housing shortage, and Hendrickson said she’ll be keeping an eye on the progress of that plan with the deadline Whitmer has set.

McNamara says he has taken note of who isn’t in attendance this year, particularly U.S. Senate candidate Mike Rogers.

“It is an election year; this place is not crawling with Republicans,” he said. “So is the event losing some of its shine?…they called off the senatorial debate, and I don’t know, the things that are being announced [this year] seem pretty tame.”

Use the media player above to hear the full roundtable interview with Gibbons, Hendrickson and McNamara. 

Other headlines from The Metro on Thursday, May 30, 2024:

  • Don Tuski, president of the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, joined the show to talk about the changes CCS has gone through over the years and how the college supports Michigan’s creative economy.
  • The Song Foundation is working to close the wealth gap and build up entrepreneurship in Detroit. Khalilah Burt Gaston, executive director of the Song Foundation, joined the show to share more the organization and its work to amplify diverse voices and improve prosperity in minority communities across the state.
  • MichMash host Cheyna Roth caught up with with Michigan House Speaker Joe Tate at the Mackinac Policy Conference to discuss the state budget and his goals for the state Legislature.

Listen to The Metro weekdays from 11 a.m. to noon ET on 101.9 FM and streaming on-demand.

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