Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Organizers Talk About Focus of This Week’s Mackinac Policy Conference

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Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

“We are not policy makers, but it is our objective to convene the appropriate people.”

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Matt Trevethan/WDET
Matt Trevethan/WDET

This week Detroit Today is broadcasting live from the Mackinac Policy Conference. Host Stephen Henderson speaks with Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah and conference chairman Dennis Archer Jr. 

We are not policy makers, but it is our objective to convene the appropriate people,” says Archer. He says it’s important for business leaders and policymakers to have an “open and candid honest discussion” about issues facing Michigan. The pillars of the conference include urban education, entrepreneurship, and investment in the future. 

Baruah says this year’s conference will be the first time it is has been utilized for a fundraiser. Funds raised will benefit the recovery effort after the Flint water crisis. Archer says the conference will “highlight issues of Flint, but not play the blame game”.

As the conference begins up north, the state House remains in session in Lansing as lawmakers try to craft a plan for funding a floundering Detroit Public Schools system. The plan proposed by the House is controversial and widely disliked by many city and education officials. Archer says the “challenges our students face aren’t driven [exclusively] from monetary or funding issues.”

Baruah agrees. 

[We] can’t just throw money to a broken system,” he says. “We need to be pushing for consistent and higher education standards.”

Click on the audio above to hear the entire conversation.




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