Detroit Regional Chamber’s Political Action Committee Releases Endorsements for House of Representatives, Detroit City Council

Full list of endorsements for state House and City Council races announced

DETROIT, June 30, 2016 – Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Political Action Committee (PAC) announced endorsements of 27 Republicans and 25 Democrats in the Michigan House of Representatives for the primary election, as well as the at-large seat on the Detroit City Council.

The Chamber PAC Board of Directors regularly meets to identify and support candidates that are aligned with the Chamber’s public policy priorities of economic growth and job creation. After careful consideration, the Chamber PAC Board of Directors made endorsements based on responses to a Chamber PAC survey, input from PAC members and personal interviews with leading candidates interested in the Chamber’s endorsement.

The Chamber PAC prides itself on being one of the most sought-after, bipartisan endorsements in Michigan and selects candidates focused on pro-economic growth policy who support creating good job opportunities. The Chamber has a proud tradition of supporting legislators of both parties who are focused on results for the entire state.

Janeé Ayers
“Mayor Duggan and the City Council have proven what they can accomplish working together, and we think Councilwoman Ayers is the right person to continue the role of representing the city and leading it into the future,” said Brad Williams, vice president of government relations for the Detroit Regional Chamber.

“Leadership in the House that’s looking to tackle some big challenges, from infrastructure to education, is essential to keeping Michigan’s momentum going,” Williams said. “With the rapid pace of change around the world, our state must be nimble and adapt quickly with policy that positions Michigan to attract jobs, investment and talent. That requires bipartisan, pragmatic leadership, and we think these candidates reflect those values.”

District 2 – Joseph Tate (D-Detroit)
District 3 – Wendell Byrd (D-Detroit)
District 4 – Quincy Jones (D-Detroit)
District 5 – Fred Durhal III (D-Detroit)
District 6 – Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit)
District 10 – Leslie Love (D-Detroit)
District 12 – Erika Geiss (D-Taylor)
District 13 – Frank Liberati (D-Allen Park)
District 15 – Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn)
District 16 – Robert Kosowski (D-Westland)
District 17 – Bill LaVoy (D-Monroe)
District 18 – Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores)
District 22 – John Chirkun (D-Roseville)
District 23 – Steven Rzeppa (D-Trenton)
District 25 – Henry Yanez (D-Sterling Heights)
District 27 – Robert Wittenberg (D-Oak Park)
District 29 – Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills)
District 30 – Diana Farrington (R-Utica)
District 35 – Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield)
District 36 – Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Township)
District 38 – Kathy Crawford (R-Novi)
District 39 – Klint Kesto (R-Commerce Township)
District 40 – Michael McCready (R-Bloomfield Hills)
District 41 – Martin Howrylak (R-Troy)
District 43 – Jim Tedder (R-Clarkston)
District 45 – Michael Webber (R-Rochester Hills)
District 49 – Phil Phelps (D-Flushing)
District 51 – Joseph Graves (R-Linden)
District 52 – Donna Lasiniski (D-Ann Arbor)
District 55 – Adam Zemke (D-Ann Arbor)
District 56 – Jason Sheppard (R-Temperance)
District 57 – Bronna Kahle (R-Clinton)
District 60 – Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo)
District 61 – Brandt Iden (R-Kalamazoo)
District 63 – David Maturen (R-Vicksburg)
District 66 – Beth Griffin (R-Mattawan)
District 68 – Andy Schor (D-Lansing)
District 69 – Sam Singh (D-East Lansing)
District 70 – James Lower (R-Cedar Lake)
District 72 – Ryan Gallogly (R-Byron Center)
District 73 – Chris Afendoulis (R-Grand Rapids)
District 74 – Rob VerHeulen (R-Walker)
District 78 – Dave Pagel (R-Berrien Springs)
District 79 – Ryan Arnt (R-St. Joseph)
District 86 – Thomas Albert (R-Belding)
District 87 – Julie Calley (R-Portland)
District 89 – Jim Lilly (R-Holland)
District 90 – Daniela Garcia (R-Holland)
District 96 – Brian Elder (D-Bay City)
District 100 – Scott VanSingel (R-Grant)
District 103 – Daire Rendon (R-Lake City)
District 104 – Larry Inman (R-Williamsburg)

About the Detroit Regional Chamber
Serving the business community for more than 100 years, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the oldest, largest and most respected chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission of powering the economy for Southeast Michigan is carried out through economic development, education reform, regional collaboration and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit

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Destination Detroit’s Economic Development Partners Attract $1.03 Billion, 3,707 Jobs to Southeast Michigan in First Quarter of 2016

Q1 2016 Social Media Graphic (Corrected)

From assisting local companies to grow their customer base, to attracting new international firms to Southeast Michigan, Destination Detroit’s economic development partners helped generate 3,707 new jobs and $1.03 billion in investment during the first quarter of 2016.

Led in part by DTE Energy’s decision to construct two of the country’s largest solar panel fields in Lapeer County, the numbers marked the second straight quarter of over a billion dollars in capital investment for the united 11-county Detroit region.

The project was coordinated by the Lapeer Development Corp. and DTE Energy, who together with the Detroit Regional Chamber and 12 additional economic development organizations, partner to collaboratively promote the region’s assets and attract investment from across the United States and beyond under the unified Destination Detroit banner.

“DTE’s investment is huge. Not only will it provide substantial benefits to the community, including tax revenue and job creation, but will place the Detroit region on the map in terms of green, renewable energy, ” said Patricia Lucas, Executive Director of the Lapeer Development Corporation.

“As the state’s largest investor in renewable energy, DTE is committed to building a more sustainable, economically prosperous Michigan. We are proud of the investment and jobs this project will generate and thank the Lapeer Development Corporation for being a crucial partner in its success,” said Mark King, manager of DTE Energy’s economic development team.

Read about a few of the other projects that drove economic growth in the Detroit region from January through March of 2016.

Quarter 1 Project Highlights:

Company: DTE Energy
Location: City of Lapeer
Partner Lead: Lapeer Development Corporation and DTE Energy
New Jobs: 105
New Investment: $100 million
Description: DTE Energy is currently in the process of installing 200,000 solar panels across two sites in Lapeer. Once constructed, the development will become the largest solar array east of the Mississippi River, powering approximately 9,000 average-sized homes with 45 megawatts of clean, zero-emission energy. DTE Energy is investing $100 million in the two solar parks, which will create a total of 105 new jobs (100 temporary, 5 permanent).

Company: Sigma International
Location: Eastpointe
Partner Lead: Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development
New Jobs: 20
New Investment: $1.41 million
Description: Macomb County’s high density of customers and pipeline of qualified workers stood out to the company, which supplies decorative automotive trim. Investing $1.41 million across two different facilities in Eastpointe, Sigma International will create 20 new jobs for the community.

Company: Disher Corp.
Location: Pittsfield Twp.
Partner Lead: Ann Arbor SPARK
New Jobs: 25
New Investment: $2.89 million
Description: A product development and business consulting firm for OEMs, suppliers and manufacturers, Disher Corp. will continue to invest and expand in Michigan. With assistance from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Ann Arbor SPARK, the company will hire 25 new employees at its Ann Arbor office. Positions include manufacturing and electronics engineers, as well as software developers.

Editor’s note: Each quarter, Destination Detroit aggregates and promotes the investment and job creation results for projects impacted by the region’s economic development partners.

Destination Detroit, a collaborative business attraction effort led by the Chamber in partnership with the region’s principal economic development agencies, is part of Forward Detroit’s strategy to sustain the region as one of the fastest growing in the United States.

Detroit Drives Degrees Sets Educational Attainment Projects for Coming Year

In an effort to catalyze higher education in the region, the Chamber’s Detroit Drives Degrees initiative recently launched its Leadership Council to establish goals and projects for the coming year around each of D3’s three pillars: post-secondary access, post-secondary success, and talent retention. The council is made up of more than 30 business, education and nonprofit partners across Southeast Michigan. It is co-chaired by Richard Rassel, chairman of Butzel Long, and Daniel Little, chancellor of the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

  • Short- and long-term projects include:
  • Data gathering to determine why talented individuals stay or leave Michigan
  • Creating a citywide infrastructure to help adults with some college classes re-enroll to complete a degree
  • Organizing a regional college-going campaign focused on Southeast Michigan high schools
  • Developing a one-stop website to attract and retain talent in Southeast Michigan

Dickinson Wright Receives Top Rankings in Chambers High Net Worth Guide

Dickinson Wright PLLC is pleased to announce that Chambers High Net Worth Guide (HNW) 2016 has named Dickinson Wright’s Private Wealth Law practice in Arizona as a “Top Ranked” practice. Two of Dickinson Wright’s estate planning attorneys were named “Leaders in their Fields”.

London-based Chambers & Partners, publisher of the world’s leading guides to the legal profession, conducts research into the strengths and reputations of U.S. law firms by state, through in-depth interviews with peers and competing firm attorneys, in-house counsel and significant purchasers of legal services. Chambers HNW 2016 is their first directory for the private wealth market.

Dickinson Wright’s Private Wealth Law practice in Arizona received a Band 1 ranking from Chambers while the following attorneys were ranked as “Leaders in their Fields” by the guide:

Henry Grix, Member – Mr. Grix received a Band 1 ranking from Chambers HNW. He is a member in the firm’s Troy office. His practice focuses on the areas of estate planning and administration, nonprofit organizations and taxation. He assists clients with the development and implementation of enforceable estate plans for the management and transfer of assets during life and at death in ways that avoid unnecessary taxation, preserve privacy and protect loved ones. Mr. Grix received his B.A. and his J.D. from the University of Michigan.

Les Raatz, Member – Mr. Raatz received a Band 2 ranking from Chambers HNW. He is a member in the firm’s Phoenix office. He practices primarily in the areas of estate planning; probate and trust administration; divorce tax and asset planning; entity structuring; and taxation. He has significant experience representing many hundreds of business clients and their families in connection with estate and tax planning. He is a national author and speaker at numerous seminars on areas of income, estate and gift taxation, probate and trust issues, and selection of business entities. Mr. Raatz received his B.S. and his J.D. from the University of Illinois.

About Dickinson Wright PLLC
Dickinson Wright PLLC is a general practice business law firm with more than 400 attorneys among more than 40 practice areas. Headquartered in Detroit and founded in 1878, the firm has sixteen offices, including six in Michigan (Detroit, Troy, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Saginaw) and nine other domestic offices in Columbus, Ohio; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Lexington, Ky.; Nashville, Tenn. (2); Las Vegas, Nev.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Reno, Nev.; and Washington, D.C. The firm’s Canadian office is located in Toronto.

As one of the few law firms with ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification, the firm offers clients a distinctive combination of superb client service and exceptional quality. Dickinson Wright lawyers are known for delivering commercially-oriented advice on sophisticated transactions and have a remarkable record of wins in high-stakes litigation. Dickinson Wright lawyers are regularly cited by Chambers, Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers and other leading independent law firm evaluating organizations.

Detroiter Magazine Wins Award of Excellence from Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives

The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) recently awarded the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Detroiter magazine an “Award of Excellence” as part of its 2016 Awards for Communication Excellence (ACE) competition. The ACE recognizes outstanding communications efforts by chambers of commerce in the United States and beyond.

A panel of chamber executives and communications and marketing professionals selected the Detroiter after reviewing the September and December editions and rating it against other entries in the publication category from chambers across the country. The judges awarded seven Grand Awards and 36 Awards of Excellence based on originality, design/visual impact, message clarity/effectiveness, and results achieved.

The September 2015 edition reinforced a key priority from the 2015 Mackinac Policy Conference and featured Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs” fame on the cover. The issue continued the conversation from the event to promote careers in skilled trades as part of a broader effort to help close the skills gap.

The December 2015 issue focused on Detroit as a center of design in automotive and beyond, and showcased the city and region as a great place to design anything from a belt to an automobile. Fittingly, the Chamber collaborated with the College for Creative Studies on the issue, with two CCS students illustrating the cover which featured automotive designs and vehicles with ties to the talented designers in the region.

The Chamber continues to publish the magazine quarterly to promote the region, its membership and work, and to highlight for its membership key economic issues facing the region and state. The most recent of the edition of the Detroiter featured content related to the 2016 Mackinac Policy and is available now in print and online.

‘Planet M’ Goes to Silicon Valley

This month, the state of Michigan, along with the Detroit Regional Chamber and MICHauto, took the state’s “Planet M” initiative on the road to ITS America in San Jose, Calif. to promote Michigan as the global epicenter of the automotive and mobility industries.

Launched by Gov. Snyder at the 2016 Mackinac Policy Conference, “Planet M” aligns all of Michigan’s autonomous and connected vehicle technology assets under one banner for promoting more economic development and growth in the state.

“It is important that we continue promoting Michigan’s mobility assets to companies from all over the country, including those based in Silicon Valley,” said Rob Luce, director of MICHauto and Automotive Retention & Growth. “As a leader in next-generation mobility, Michigan is the brain trust of the industry and develops innovative solutions on a daily basis.”

Throughout the three-day conference, representatives from Michigan businesses and economic development organizations provided attendees with information to highlight Michigan’s leadership in the development and testing of connected and automated vehicles. The delegation included: Ann Arbor SPARK, Center for Automotive Research, Macomb County, Michigan Economic Development Corp., Michigan Department of Transportation, MICHauto, Next Energy, Oakland County, The American Center for Mobility, and The Right Place.

In addition to the conference, the delegation also met with Silicon Valley-based mobility companies to discuss their expansion plans, promote Michigan’s assets, and encourage investment.

Together with members of the Michigan Mobility Initiative, MICHauto and the Chamber are committed to leveraging Michigan’s automotive assets and resources to promote, grow and retain smart mobility in the state. Check out the recently updated mobility map which highlights the assets that make Michigan the place to be for emerging opportunities in smart mobility.

National Site Selectors Tour Macomb, Oakland Counties’ Auto and Advanced Manufacturing Assets

Working with key public partners, the Detroit Regional Chamber recently co-hosted five national site selectors for a firsthand look at the automotive and advanced manufacturing assets of Macomb and Oakland counties. Such tours help inform site selectors as they assist global companies in deciding where to locate.

Hosted in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corp., Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development and Oakland County Department of Economic Development and Community Affairs, the group toured the recently opened research and technical campus of Durr Systems. The company, which manufactures and supplies robots for automotive and industrial paint and sealing, invested $40 million in a 200,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility in Southfield, where they now employ over 480 people.

During the tour, site selectors spoke with Bruno Welsch, president and CEO of Durr Systems, about the company’s decision to stay in Oakland County while making a long-term commitment to the area. As professionals who assist global corporations in making crucial location decisions, site selectors represent an important constituency in promoting the Detroit region as a premier destination for business investment.

“Hosting prominent, well-respected site selectors like this is a key activity in showcasing what the Detroit region has to offer to global businesses,” said Justin Robinson, the Chamber’s vice president of business attraction. “The more site selectors are aware of this area’s skilled technical workforce and density of advanced manufacturing strengths, the greater ability they have to make the case for investment.”

In addition, the site selectors met with representatives from other automotive, aerospace and advanced manufacturing companies based in Macomb and Oakland counties, including: Baker Aerospace and Machining Inc., Paslin, P3 North America and Valiant International Inc.

Throughout the coming year, the Chamber will be looking to host similar visits in coordination with its local economic development partners as part of the Destination Detroit business attraction effort, which helps national and international businesses explore, locate and invest in the united 11-county Detroit region.

Make Your Work Team Pedal Harder promotion allows companies to take employees out for unique team-building in Downtown Detroit

The Michigan Pedaler, the 15-passenger Detroit Party Bike that has become the popular thing-to-do this summer, announced a new program today aimed at helping big and small businesses alike bring a fun adventure to their employees during the 2016 summer season.

The Michigan Pedaler’s Make Your Work Team Pedal Harder team-building promotion allows businesses to book an outing on The Michigan Pedaler for any Monday to Thursday weekday morning or afternoon with special pricing and special rewards.

“We want work teams to get out in the sun and enjoy the City of Detroit,” said The Michigan Pedaler’s Chief Fun Officer (CFO) Mike Gill. “Bosses are always looking for something different to do with their work groups. Here is an outing that is bound to bring smiles to all employees’ faces.”

For $475, a corporate group can book any 10:00 AM, 12:30, 3:00, or 5:30 tour on the bike for any Monday to Thursday through September 30th. It includes a two-hour ride on the bike, a case of chilled bottled water, and 15 Detroit Pedals Harder t-shirts for the group to take with them at the end of the ride (a savings of over $130 off the retail price). A discounted ride-only price of $275, which does not include t-shirts and water, is also available.

“We have had a number of corporate events on the bike since we debuted in March,” Gill continued. “Being a new idea in Detroit, it is a special experience for all those that participate. Each of the groups have commented about wanting to return to do it again, or schedule a tour with their families and friends.”

To take advantage of this offer, contact the Michigan Pedaler at 313.744.3272 or email them at The Michigan Pedaler is a member of the Detroit Regional Chamber.

The Regional Benefits of Transit, and Realizing What We’re Missing

By Brad Williams

Reliable, connected regional transit is a proven engine for economic growth. Unfortunately, Southeast Michigan is missing out on economic benefits and letting its residents down with the current disconnected regional transit network.

According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), every $1 invested in regional transit provides $4 in economic returns. The $4 average looks modest compared to the economic benefit in Cleveland following the development of the city’s Bus Rapid Transit Line. Cleveland received more than $114 dollars back for every $1 spent on developing and launching the service.

One of the challenges in establishing a robust regional transit system here is the fact that it can be tough for a region that doesn’t have a cohesive one to realize what it is missing. Whether it is connecting people to jobs, seniors and people with disabilities to the independence and vital services they need, or attracting and retaining talent, connected regional transit will bring a wealth of economic benefits to all four counties: Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne.

Peer regions around the country are capitalizing on the opportunities that arise due to investment in high-quality regional transit. The RTA of Southeast Michigan’s Regional Master Transit Plan is the opportunity to reliably connect our communities. The plan will connect people to existing jobs, support and incent the creation of new jobs, increase the regional domestic product and support an increase in personal income.

The Detroit Regional Chamber supports this initiative because that greater investment in connected regional transit is necessary for Southeast Michigan to grow and compete with peer regions across the country. It is essential to attracting and retaining the talent needed to compete globally.

While the master plan is critical to future economic success, at its core it is about the residents of Southeast Michigan. It connects people to jobs – rather than turn them away because they do not have reliable transportation. It increases independence for seniors and people with disabilities, connects students to schools and connects people to entertainment opportunities throughout the region – in all four counties.

Disjointed regional public transit has plagued Southeast Michigan for too long. The RTA of Southeast Michigan’s plan will unify Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties with a reliable regional transit network that will improve the quality of life in Southeast Michigan.

Learn more about the plan at and stay up to date with the efforts to connect our communities by signing up at Learn more about the RTA’s Master Plan.

Brad Williams is the vice president of government relations at the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Michigan Pushes to Stay on Top in Auto Industry Upheaval

New technologies and business models are transforming the automotive industry “at a speed that a decade ago, we never could have imagined,” Detroit Regional Chamber President Sandy Baruah said, launching the third annual MICHauto Automotive Leadership Roundtable at the 2016 Mackinac Policy Conference.

Baruah exhorted the 80 attendees at a breakfast hosted by MICHauto to rally around efforts to boost Michigan’s stature in that space.

“We in Michigan have taken our automotive industry and the next-generation mobility industry, frankly, a little bit for granted,” he said. “We’ve owned this space for over 100 years … but that doesn’t mean that it’s our birthright to own next-generation mobility.”

Gary Silberg, head of KPMG’s national automotive practice, put it this way: “There’s this complete reshaping of the auto industry and there’s great reason for optimism.

“There will be winners and there will be losers and it will happen very fast,” he added. “There are billions and billions of dollars at stake to getting this right. You should be optimistic, but you should also be a little paranoid.”

Silberg encouraged automakers, suppliers, universities and other players to partner with technology firms large and small, in Silicon Valley and around the globe, because changes are “happening way too fast for you to try to do this completely on your own.”

Also at the roundtable breakfast, Rod Alberts, executive director of the North American International Show, shared details of a new AutoMobili-D event that will complement the 2017 show in January, focusing on mobility innovations and bringing 50 to 60 Techstars Mobility startup firms and suppliers to the lower level of Cobo Center.

Following the breakfast, Gov. Rick Snyder announced a new branding campaign, dubbed Planet M, to tout Michigan as the global hub for innovative transportation and mobility research. The tagline will be “Michigan. Where big ideas in mobility are born.”

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Michigan) spoke on the need for Planet M.

“When I’m in Washington, I always remind people that Michigan is not just smokestacks and manufacturing,” he said. “It is a high-tech state and a leader in new automotive technology.”

For more information about MICHauto, contact Executive Director Glenn Stevens at 313.596.0323.