2020 Detroit Policy Conference: Defining a Decade

Last week, the Chamber’s ninth annual Detroit Policy Conference welcomed nearly 1,000 attendees to MotorCity Casino Hotel for a timely discussion on the next decade of development and progress for the Detroit region. Local leaders including Mayor Mike Duggan, Ford Motor Company’s Mary Culler, and Bedrock Detroit’s Matt Cullen discussed projects announced and underway that will transform the city over the next decade. Hill Harper brought his star power to the stage to share why he chose to get involved in Detroit and encouraged more people from around the country to as well.

Read highlights from the most influential sessions below:

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan discussed General Motors Co.’s recent Detroit-Hamtramck plant announcement, the evolution of Detroit’s neighborhoods, and the importance of ensuring an accurate count in Detroit for the 2020 census during his conversation with Dennis W. Archer Jr.

“You need trust across the city,” said Duggan.

Ford Motor Company’s Detroit Development Director Mary Culler is helping rewrite the future of Corktown Detroit with the Michigan Central Station redevelopment and creation of a new innovative mobility ecosystem. Culler spoke on Ford’s commitment to creating a vibrant community where people come to create, test, and experience new transportation solutions that advance human progress.

“I’m here to invite you to join us in taking on the transportation challenges of the future,” she said.

Bedrock Detroit CEO Matt Cullen gave a sneak preview to his company’s new developments on the horizon like the Hudson’s site, which he noted will be off the ground this year, in his conversation with Chamber CEO Sandy K. Baruah. Cullen discussed the progress made in the decade past thanks to Bedrock Detroit and what the city can look forward to in the years to come.

“If the neighborhoods don’t do well, the city isn’t going to do well,” said Cullen.

In his keynote speech, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II discussed how Michigan can create an environment prime for innovation and ideas. Gilchrist’s vision for Michigan starts with investing in new ideas, with an emphasis on inclusive entrepreneurship and innovation reaching beyond technology.

“Entrepreneurs are people who turn barriers into springboards,” said Gilchrist.
Actor, author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Hill Harper did not only bring his energy and star power to the Conference stage, but also shared insight from a career rooted service to communities in need. Harper gave a keynote speech and spoke with Fox 2’s Huel Perkins on how he first got involved in Detroit, and why more people from around the country should too.

“The people are Detroit’s greatest asset. We have to push each other to dream as big as we can about this city,” said Harper.

Read more highlights from #DPC20, view photos, and watch session videos.

Detroit Regional Chamber Releases Findings from Second Statewide Policy Poll

View the full findings of the Michigan Policy Poll.

DETROIT, MICH. (Jan. 27, 2020) – Today, the Detroit Regional Chamber released findings from a new statewide poll that highlights the issues that matter most to Michigan voters in advance of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s second State of the State Address and the Detroit Policy Conferencon Wednesday, Jan. 29.  

Michigan is going to be the key state in the election this year and it is important tknow what is on the minds of Michigan voters,” said Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber. “We are not interested in the national horserace. Today it is important to understand the issues Michiganders care most about – roads, health care, jobs, and the economy – this Michigan voter poll reflects that.” 

The Chamber is a leading voice for the business community on many statewide issues outlined in the poll. The poll was conducted by Glengariff Group Inc. of 600 Michiganders that are likely to vote in the November general election and the findings reflect a consensus among Michigan respondents on statewide and federal issues. 

Statewide Issue Highlights:

When asked if Michigan was on the right track, 46.2% of statewide voters believe the state is on the right track and 33.2% believe it is on the wrong track (20.7% no response).

When asked in an open-ended question, “What is the most important issue facing Michigan right now?” The top four responses were:

Roads and bridges (29.5%)
Jobs and the economy (18.0%)
Education/education funding (7.2%)
Water/sewer infrastructure (6.3%)






Michigan voters are still widely focused on fixing the roads. Roads and bridges ranked as the top issue in Michigan among every demographic group.

By a wide margin, 29.5% of Michigan voters ranked roads and bridges as the most important issue facing the state.

When asked if Michigan roads have gotten better, worse, or stayed the same, statewide voters said:

They have gotten worse (46.3%)
They are about the same (40.2%)
They have gotten better (11.7%)
No response (1.8%)





However, when asked if Michigan government have enough money to fix the roads or if the state needs to raise more money, a margin of 53.3%-33.7% of voters believe the state has enough money (13% no response).

“Michigan’s elected leaders continue to lose the PR battle on additional road funding. By a margin of 53%-33%, Michigan voters continue to believe that the state already has enough money to fix the roads as compared to needing additional revenues. As far back as 2012, we talked about how voters did not understand why Michigan needed more road money. And eight years later, voters still don’t understand why Michigan needs more money for roads,” said Richard Czuba, founder of Glengariff Group Inc.

The chart below compares how each party affiliation viewed this question. While Democratic voters appear split on the question, all other party affiliations strongly believe the state already has the money to fix the roads.

Party Affiliation Enough Money Need to Raise More Money
Strong Democratic (43.4%) (46.2%)
Lean Democratic (38.5%) (44.2%)
Independent (56.1%) (30.4%)
Lean GOP (56.9%) (30.6%)
Strong GOP (64.4%) (20.7%)

Voters were asked who they would trust to spend the money if more money was raised for roads:

Their local city or township government (29.7%)
Their county government (29.7%)
Michigan state government (22.5%)
None (12.2%)
No response (6.0%)





Looking closely at the demographics:

  • Strong Republican voters were most likely to support their county (37.8%) to spend the money.
  • Strong Democratic voters were most likely to support state government (35.8%) to spend the money.
  • Independent voters were most likely to support their local government (33.8%) to spend the money.

Voters were asked if they would be more or less likely to support an increase in road revenues if they knew their local government would be responsible for handling the money and making the road fixes.

More likely to support (47.4%)
Less likely to support (15.3%)
It would make no difference to them (32.2%)
No response (5.2%)





Debt-Free Community College for Adults

By a margin of 74%-22.1%, Michigan voters strongly support providing debt-free community college tuition to any Michigan adult who is re-entering the workforce or needs to get retrained because their job has been eliminated.

Additionally, 56% of Michigan voters strongly support free community college tuition.

The chart below looks at support by party affiliation. Only Strong Republican voters are split on the proposal.

Party Affiliation Support Oppose
Strong Democratic (90.8%) (6.4%)
Lean Democratic (90.4%) (9.6%)
Independent (78.4%) (18.3%)
Lean GOP (65.3%) (30.5%)
Strong GOP (45.9%) (48.2%)






Extending Elliott Larsen

By a margin of 77.3%-16%, Michigan voters continue to strongly support legislation to prohibit discrimination in employment or housing of LGBT Michiganders. 66.3% strongly support the legislation while only 9.5% strongly oppose the legislation (6.7% no response).

Requiring Hands-Free Driving Devices

By a margin of 88.3%-9%, Michigan voters strongly support legislation that would prohibit drivers from holding their cell phones while they are driving and require them to only use a hands-free device. 77.5% of voters strongly support the hands-free legislation (2.7% neither support or oppose, or no response).

This is the second poll the Detroit Regional Chamber has commissioned by Glengariff Group Inc. ahead of the November 2020 general election. The first was conducted in July 2019 in advance of the CNN Democratic Debate in Detroit and it also focused on issues that were top of mind for voters to ensure the candidates were focusing on the issues Michigan cares about.

National Issue Highlights:

Washington dominates as the most important issue facing the nation for Michigan voters. When asked in an open-ended question, what is the most important issue facing the nation, Michigan voters said:

President Trump and his impeachment were the most important issue (15.2%)
Jobs and the economy (12.5%)
Access to health care (10.0%)
The political divide in the nation (9.0%)
The possibility of war (8.8%)






Looking closely at the demographics:

  • 31.8% of Strong Democratic voters said President Trump was the most important issue facing the nation, while 20% of Strong Republican voters said the political divide in the nation was the most important issue.
  • By a margin of 62.2%-26.7%, Michigan voters believe the national economy is on the right track (11.2% no response).
  • When asked if the economy is better today than it was four years ago, 51.2% said it was better, 28.8% said it was the same, and 16.2% said it was worse (3.8% no response).

There were major differences based on whether or not the household had a 401K.

  • For households with a 401K, 57.8% said the economy was better, 28.3% said it was the same, and 10.5% said it was worse.
  • But for households without a 401K, only 36.8% said it was better, 30.5% said it was the same, and 27.4% said it was worse.

Michigan voters were asked if their household finances were better today than they were four years ago, 42% said their finances were the same, 38.3% said they were better, and 17.3% said they were worse (2.3% no response).

There were major differences based on whether the household had a 401K.

  • 46.5% of households with a 401K said their finances were better, while only 24.2% of households without a 401K said their finances were better.

Health Care

Michigan voters with private and employer health insurance are overwhelmingly satisfied with their insurance.

When voters were asked if they had health insurance and if so what kind of insurance they had:

No coverage (4%)
Yes, employer provided coverage (56.3%)
Yes, paid for private coverage (8%)
Yes, Medicare (20.2%)
Yes, Medicaid (9%)
No response (2.5%)






Looking closely at the demographics:

  • While 61.2% of white voters said they had employee coverage, only 33.3% of African American voters said they had employee coverage.
  • Voters with employee and private coverage were asked if they were satisfied or unsatisfied with their health insurance.
  • 75.1% of voters with employee or private coverage are satisfied with their coverage, while 43.0% are very satisfied, and 32.1% are somewhat satisfied. 22.0% are not satisfied with their coverage.
  • Michiganders choose moderate options on health care and agree across the board on pre-existing conditions.

When Voters were read four different options about our nation’s health care system and asked which they supported the most:

We should expand the existing Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, to give anyone the option to purchase their health coverage through Medicare. This is known as Medicare for All who want it. (35.8%)
We should make some changes to the Affordable Care Act, but we shouldn’t go beyond that. (20.2%)
We should create one Medicare for All system in which everyone has the same health insurance plan and private insurance would not be required. (20%)
We should leave the system alone. It is working fine and there is really nothing wrong with it. (8.5%)
No response (9.0%)








“It is a great misconception that voters are unhappy with their current health insurance coverage. 75% of voters with employer provided or private health insurance coverage are satisfied with their coverage. That is why 67% of Michigan voters choose a national health option that is not Medicare for All. Voters want a more moderated direction in the national health care debate,” said Czuba, founder of Glengariff Group Inc.

Looking closely at the demographics:

  • Among Strong Democratic voters, 51.4% chose Medicare for All that want it, while 23.1% chose Medicare for All.
  • The lowest support percentage for Medicare for All came among Strong Republican voters (8.1%), union households (13.1%), and African American voters (14.1%).
  • The strongest support for ‘Medicare for All that want it’ came from African American voters (59%) and Strong Democratic voters (51.4%).
  • 21.5% of Strong Republican voters said we should leave the health care system alone. 27.4% chose minor reforms to the Affordable Care Act.

Ranking Local, State and Federal Leaders for Civility

Since 2017, the Chamber has led a call to restore civility in public discourse. Given civility is a signature priority for the Chamber, Michigan voters were asked their opinion on the nation’s current state.

When Michigan voters were asked to rank local, state, and federal leaders on their civility. Using a one to 10 scale – with one being lowest and 10 being highest – voters were asked to score each entity on civility.

Your local city and township government (6.7)
Your local mayor or township supervisor (6.7)
Governor of Michigan (5.5)
Michigan State House and State Senate (5.2)
United States House of Representatives and Senate (4.2)
President of the United States (4.2)
Social media like Facebook and Twitter (3.6)








Looking closely at the demographics:

Republicans voted:
President the most civil of the entities (7.6)
Social media the lowest (3.2)
United States House of Representatives and Senate (3.7)
Governor of Michigan (3.8)





Independents voted:         
Their local mayor or supervisor highest (6.5)
Social media the lowest (3.6)
The President (4.0)




Democrats voted:         
Governor of Michigan highest (7.1)
President of the United States lowest (1.7)






The poll is a live operator telephone survey of 600 likely November 2020 general election Michigan voters conducted from January 14-18, 2020. The survey has a margin of error of +/-4.0% with a 95% level of confidence. 62% of respondents were contacted by landline telephone. 38% of respondents were contacted by cell phone.

View the full findings of the Michigan Policy Poll.

Spotlight on the News: Inside the “New” Detroit Regional Partnership & Detroit Policy Conference

January 19, 2020

WXYZ Detroit

Spotlight on the News

On Sunday, January 19, Spotlight on the News will introduce you to Barry I. Matherly, the leader of the “new” Detroit Regional Partnership. What are his plans? We’ll also go inside the upcoming 2020 Detroit Policy Conference with Detroit Regional Chamber President & CEO Sandy Baruah and Conference Chair Dennis Archer, Jr. Together, how are they moving our region forward?

Spotlight on the News, now in its 55th season, is Michigan’s longest-running weekly news and public affairs television program. It airs every Sunday at 10:00 a.m. on WXYZ-TV/Channel 7 in Detroit and 2:30 p.m. on 23.1 WKAR-HD in East Lansing and 6 p.m. on 23.2 WKAR World.

View the original article and watch the video. 

WWJ News Radio: 2019 Detroit Policy Conference Coverage

March 2, 2019

WWJ News Radio

WWJ covers keynotes from the 2019 Detroit Policy Conference.

Detroiters Share During First, Second, and Last Word at #DPC19

The 2019 Detroit Policy Conference offered attendees the opportunity to hear Detroit’s First, Second, and Last Word throughout the day at the Michigan Talent Investment Agency Stage.

Detroit’s First Word

Conversations during “The Power of Placemaking in Neighborhoods” and “Creating Community Space for All” panels surrounded the importance of listening to community voices and focusing on involving the people who will be using your service or program. We need to listen to receive and not listen to respond, to let community members know their voices are valued and heard.

Detroit’s Second Word

“Promise Scholarship: A Path to a Degree” panelists focused on the importance of thinking about the next for students after high school and realizing that success isn’t just getting the students into college but helping them work on their journey to finish school.

“Skilled Trades: The Talent Pursuit” discussed the importance of skilled trades and exposing younger students to skilled trade opportunities so they can see what the industry has to offer. Reaching students earlier in their life and sooner gives employers new opportunities to engage with potential employers and also discuss the needs of future talent.

Detroit’s Final Word

Rounding out the day with the last three sessions, Detroit’s Final Word talks included “Detroit’s Cost of Living: Housing”, Detroit’s Cost of Living: Transportation and Auto Insurance” and “Access to Capital: Disparities for Entrepreneurs of Color.” Although the topics covered a wide range of content, one point was made clear, if you want to make an impact in the community you have to look at the problem and work together with people who encounter it every day. By working with the community, we can really understand the root of the problem and fix it to make an impact.


Five of Detroit’s Most Dynamic Voices Deliver Power Perspectives

Throughout the 2019 Detroit Policy Conference, five local community leaders took the stage to deliver for “TEDx-style Power Perspectives.

Shamayim “Mama Shu” Harris, Founder and CEO, Avalon Village

Transforming blight to beauty, Harris wanted to build for the better and transformed her pain into power. Some people look for a beautiful place, Harris chooses to make the place beautiful.

Andre Spivey, Council Member District 4, Detroit City Council

Detroit’s comeback is about how we value education in the city. We must value education to help educate children, and underprepared and non-educated adults. We have a great system but there are still some challenges; if we want to move forward, we must prepare all of our residents, both young and old, for the future.

Armond Rashad, Owner, Jabs Gym Eastern Market; Creator, Run This Town Detroit

The health and wellness industry are alive and well in Detroit and it’s been shown through the success of Jabs Gym and Run This Town Detroit. By 2030, Detroit will be the healthiest city in all of the U.S., Rashad Said. By taking advantage of personal wellness, we can build a healthy Detroit together.

Courtney Smith, Founder and Executive Director, Detroit Phoenix Center

In Detroit, 1.6 million youth are homeless, one in five are victims of human trafficking and 346 percent are less likely to graduate from high school.  Based on her lived experiences and the reality that is Detroit, Smith created Detroit Phoenix Center to better help serve homeless youth. By using her lived experiences, integrating youth voice, and working to better Detroit, Smith is working to make Detroit a city that leads the way in solving the most precious issues. Detroiters need to save Detroit.

Laura Granneman, Vice President, Strategic Investments, Quicken Loans Community Fund

Detroit has one of the highest municipal taxes in the country and we haven’t gotten to the root cause of the problem. Granneman said, we need to help our most vulnerable residents from being displaced as the city changes and evolves. We must make tools accessible and work quickly to reach home owners before it is too late, and their homes are lost.

Power Perspectives were sponsored by Grand Valley State University.

Jay Pitter: Building Inclusive Communities

“We can’t seize future opportunities if we disregard the past,” said Jay Pitter, author and placemaker.

At the 2019 Detroit Policy Conference, Pitter emphasized the importance of creating an inclusive community to continue Detroit’s upward trajectory. Pitter, who is from Toronto, is an expert in social justice, spatial relations, and inclusive planning. She gave Detroiters a number of ideas to create inclusive communities.

Key takeaways from Pitter’s keynote discussion:

  • Pay respect to the history of a space when building new structures.
  • Create spaces that provide value, healing, and discovery. They should not only focus on appearance.
  • Tell stories with the spaces you are building.
  • Remember that urban design is not neutral; it has a history rooted in colonization and tense racial relations. Designers need to create spaces that respect our history while still moving toward the future.
  • Recognize local leaders and heroes who are building inclusive communities now.

This session was sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Barry Matherly: Become an Ambassador for the Region

At the 2019 Detroit Policy Conference, Detroit Regional Partnership President and CEO Barry Matherly took to the Sound Board stage to promote the Detroit region and the power of collaboration. Citing the region’s 5.4 million people and 275 municipalities, Matherly focused on helping the region compete globally, not just within the United States. For the region to succeed on a global scale, Matherly provided some key takeaways:

  • Neighborhoods must grow in conjunction with larger cities; it is imperative that regional growth is inclusive.
  • The region is not devoid of issues. We should not hide them, but instead learn from them.
  • People should become ambassadors of their hometown and entire region.

This session was sponsored by DTE Energy Foundation.

Dennis Archer Jr. On Keeping Detroit’s Comeback Moving And The Detroit Policy Conference

February 22, 2019

Daily Detroit

By: Jer Staes

On a bonus interview episode of Daily Detroit, our guest is Dennis Archer, Jr.

He’s the owner of Ignition Media, proprietor of the successful Central Kitchen and Bar, and chair of the upcoming Detroit Policy Conference.

We talk about a variety of topics around Detroit’s comeback and a vision for 2030 for the city and region.

View the original article here


Spotlight on the News: Roads, marijuana, immigration, politics & the Detroit Policy Conference

February 22, 2019

WXYZ Detroit

By: Chuck Strokes

WXYZ DETROIT — On Sunday, February 24, Spotlight on the News will interview Michigan State Senator Peter Lucido, (R ) Shelby Township; Sandy Baruah, President & CEO, Detroit Regional Chamber; Dennis Archer, Jr., Chairman, Detroit Policy Conference; Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, (D) Dearborn and Congressman Fred Upton, (R) St. Joseph. Some of the topics will include roads, marijuana, the Detroit Policy Conference, immigration and politics.

Spotlight on the News, now in its 54th season, is Michigan’s longest-running weekly news and public affairs television program. It airs every Sunday at 10:00 a.m. on WXYZ-TV/Channel 7 in Detroit and 2:30 p.m. on 23.1 WKAR-HD in East Lansing and 6 p.m. on 23.2 WKAR World.

View the original article here