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Tom Walsh: Snyder peppers keynote Mackinac speech with Duggan praise

From: Detroit Free Press

By Tom Walsh

May 30, 2014

MACKINAC ISLAND — — Gov. Rick Snyder was gushing with relentless positive acclaim here Thursday for Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

On a day when Snyder was getting plenty of love himself — the Business Leaders for Michigan endorsed his reelection bid — the governor peppered his own keynote speech at the Mackinac Policy Conference with multiple mentions of Duggan’s speech the previous day.

“Mayor Duggan, thank you for a wonderful presentation,” Snyder said early in his speech, nodding toward Duggan was seated alongside Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones.

“I loved his visual aids,” Snyder said, remarking on Duggan’s use of statistics and home photos when talking about the auction of abandoned city properties. Snyder himself then showed a photo of a glass-half-full shot the previous day, to illustrate a point about attitudes.

“I vowed to be a good disciple of Mike,” he added.

A few minutes later, Snyder was talking about the importance of measuring results.

“Mike and I have huge alignment on that. We’re scorecard kind of guys,” Snyder said, as he stressed the importance of using facts and data to chart progress.

And there was more. “Mike did a great job when he talked about blight,” Snyder said.

Toward the end of his speech, Snyder said, “We need to be louder and prouder about Detroit … We’re not at an economic tipping point yet, where the world will realize the comeback of Michigan. We need to create that critical mass. It’s not that far away.

“That’s why I really enjoyed Mike’s presentation,” Snyder said, “because he was going through those homes and talking about the successful bids and all the great things going on.

“He was marketing Detroit, but he was marketing reality. He was marketing facts. One of the problems we have as Michiganders, we tend to be too humble. I’ve got that same issue … If we don’t go out and tell our country and the world what we’re about, who is?

“I agree with Mike,” Snyder continued. “He put it on a slide, the one thing we really need to show, the one answer for Detroit is growing Detroit.”

And so it went, the Republican nerd governor of Michigan embracing the data-driven, results-focused Democratic mayor of Detroit.

After the speech, Duggan shrugged off Snyder’s frequent compliments, saying only, “We’re working on building relationships.”

Kind of got me thinking of the final scene of the movie “Casablanca,” where Humphrey Bogart’s cafe proprietor Rick walks off into the fog with French police captain Louis Renault, saying, “Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”