Detroit Regional Chamber > Chamber > Southeast Michigan County Leaders on Regional Transit, Bipartisanship

Southeast Michigan County Leaders on Regional Transit, Bipartisanship

May 10, 2023

Watch the full session at the bottom of the page. 

Southeast Michigan County Executives Dave Coulter, Warren Evans, and Mark Hackel talked regional transit, bipartisanship, and more during the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Meet Southeast Michigan’s County Leaders breakfast on May 5 in Southfield.

The moderated panel discussion with CBS’s Carol Cain opened with the three leaders discussing their county’s biggest achievements and issues, along with particular projects that the three counties are working on together. The leaders say that the counties typically have “different dynamics” on top priorities but tend to align on many issues, including improving the juvenile justice system.

Regional transit and infrastructure are also hot topics in the three counties again, as Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne Counties all have SMART millages in place now. Though the three leaders did mention their collaborative relationships with each other on various issues, Evans admitted that regional transit solutions are where they tend to differ.

“I’d like to get people downtown, and back east and west, north and south…I’d like to get people who need to get to the workforce development that we’re talking about,” the Wayne County Executive said. “It’s one thing to say you got workforce development opportunity. It’s another thing to get somebody in an underserved community who doesn’t have transportation to get to [the] workforce development.”

Cain also asked about the “tangible benefits” of being politically aligned with the Democratic majority Legislation since all three leaders are also Democrats. However, the leaders did not see any more particular advantages because of the majority. Instead, they all stressed the importance and benefits of bipartisanship. Hackle particularly urged the audience to continue standing up against political extremism for the sake of Michiganders.

“Get in the damn aisle and solve…the problems that the people are seeing…Find out what the real answers are, and let’s not make them political answers,” the Macomb County Executive said. “Let’s do things that are on behalf of the people, that they truly want us to solve as public officials elected for everyone.”

Despite the challenges discussed during the event, the three leaders all say they’re “very optimistic” about the next five to 10 years, based on “team players who are willing to work together,” according to Hackel. Further, the leaders, especially Coulter, suggested the need for more self-promotion of the Detroit Region to continue progress.

“We have survived COVID,” the Oakland County Executive said, “And we have the ability to thrive in the future if we brag about ourselves a little more.”