Donna Brazile, Tucker Eskew, Harold Ford Jr. Provide 2012 Election Insight #MPC12 #TellUsDetroit

Harold Ford Jr., Former U.S. Representative; NBC News Analyst; Donna Brazile, Vice Chair, Voter Registration and Participation, Democratic National Committee; and Tucker Eskew, Former Deputy Assistant to President George W. Bush. (Photo by Detroit Regional Chamber 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference)

MACKINAC ISLAND, MI – Former Congressman Harold Ford Jr. joined political strategists Donna Brazile and Tucker Eskew on the 2012 Mackinac Policy Conference stage tonight for a session focused on the upcoming elections, bringing a national perspective to the 2012 Conference.

Eskew and Brazile engaged in a lively banter around the upcoming presidential election. They discussed issues that will be most important to voters and how they expect the election to pan out in November.

Brazile, Eskew and Ford all agreed that the election will ultimately come down to independent voters. Brazile said millions of Americans are dissatisfied with the economy and will look for a convincing argument before placing their votes. Eskew agreed with the overall dissatisfaction throughout the country and said that is how the election has gotten to such a close and heated race.

Brazile said that Americans understand the problems the country faces and the key to securing their votes is making them understand the creativity, innovation, in-sourcing and common sense solutions that are already taking place within the country and will continue to. Eskew said that when it comes to the economy, people feel how they feel regardless of statistics. He said that in Michigan, they feel the comeback that is taking place and that it is important to stop arguing about the past and build on the future.

As the panelists concluded their commentary, the audience was able to participate in a live vote on the presidential candidate they think will be elected this year. The results showed 71 percent in favor of President Barack Obama and 29 percent in favor of Governor Mitt Romney.

Brazile is vice chair of voter registration and participation at the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and former chair of the DNC’s Voting Rights Institute. Eskew has more than twenty-five years of experience in state-level and presidential politics. As Deputy Assistant to President George W. Bush and Director of the White House Office of Global Communications, he developed strategic communications to promote American policies around the world and led the administration’s wartime messaging.



Detroit’s ‘Future’ discussed at Mackinac Policy Conference #MackinacPolicyCon #TellUsDetroit #Detroit #GovernorSnyder

Gov. Rick Snyder wants the Detroit Financial Advisory Board to meet with or without the two Detroit members the city council has neglected to appoint. “What they’ve (Detroit City Council) elected to do is not appoint members to the board, and my view is I think the board should meet,” Snyder said. “If they don’t show up, there’s no reason the board can’t meet, if you look at the agreement. (“Photo by HB Meeks/Tell Us Detroit)

MACKINAC ISLAND, MI (Tell Us Det) – The 32nd annual Detroit Regional Chamber Mackinac Policy Conference kicked off Tuesday afternoon with an opening address from Governor Rick Snyder, emphasizing the importance of positioning Michigan to succeed in the 21st century global marketplace and how crucial that is to moving the state forward.

Some of the state’s top entrepreneurs and innovative CEOs discussed the state of business and the return of jobs to detroit and the region, how entrepreneurship can be the catalyst for economic recovery for Michigan.

Detroit’s public officials are all on the island, and the city’s turnaround will be the focus of discussion at many power meetings and media interviews.

The event is also giving a chance to potential candidates to test the political waters and drum up support from potential donors during the evening’s networking buffet on the Big Porch at the Grand Hotel.

Detroit Regional Chamber Tuesday announced a new campaign effort to raise $2 million annually from the private sector to spur economic development in Detroit and southeast Michigan.

The “Detroit Regional Prosperity Campaign” will be co-chaired by DTE Energy Chairman, President and CEO Gerry Anderson and Meritor, Inc. Chairman, CEO and President Chip McClure, who joined other officials for the announcement at the conference.

“This whole effort is about driving job growth and business creation in southeast Michigan,” said chamber president and CEO Sandy K. Baruah on the porch of the historic Grand Hotel. “It’s presenting ourselves nationally and internationally and making sure we have the resources in the region through our counties to execute.”

Mich. House passes bills to change medical pot law #MichLMLaw #TellUsDetroit


Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan House on Thursday passed a package of bills aimed at clarifying the state’s voter-approved law allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

The House passed four bills – including the first legislation that would amend the 2008 law – and they now go to the Senate.

One bill seeks to better define the type of doctor-patient relationship needed before medical marijuana use could be certified. Another includes requirements for photographs to be included on identification cards that people certified to use medical marijuana must carry. The legislation also calls for creating a 15-member panel of physicians and others to review petitions requesting to add medical conditions to the list for which the use of marijuana is approved.

Backers have argued the 2008 law wasn’t clear and contained loopholes. Critics say the proposed changes might make the drug harder to get.

Several medical marijuana advocacy groups oppose the bills or voiced concerns while they worked their way through committee. The Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union supported the bill that aims to better define the type of doctor-patient relationship and is neutral on the others. The Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan supported the entire package.

Ari Adler, spokesman for House Speaker Jase Bolger, said the package went through “a lot of work and changes over time” and was a bipartisan effort. The bills, Adler said, bring “some order to the chaos caused by the initial medical marijuana referendum.”

Because the voter-approved medical marijuana law is part of the state constitution, the House needed to approve two of the bills that specifically amended the law by a three-quarters majority of its members.

Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, cast a no vote but acknowledged that the bill package has some positive attributes. Among them, he said, was a Democratic amendment added this week that allows criminal defendants to say they are a medical marijuana user in court provided they comply with the law. Some patients have been forbidden from mentioning they are a medical marijuana user in certain legal cases.

Irwin said House members who crafted the bills “did not succumb to some of the `reefer madness’ that can accompany this issue,” but he felt the resulting bills ultimately went too far.

“The overall current is to add additional restrictions to patients, caregivers and doctors,” he said. “It’s contrary to what the voters approved overwhelmingly a couple of years ago.”

Redford Township Democratic Rep. Phil Cavanagh, who sponsored one of the bills, said the goal was “to at least try to clarify what the voters had in mind and to codify that.”

“As most tough issues, you’re never going to appease everyone,” he said. “That is why I have confidence everyone is a little disappointed in this language … yet I believe it is a good compromise.”

Record Breaking Crowds Top 40,043 For Single Day Attendance At Day 2 Of 2012 #MOVEMENTDetroit Festival

Photo by Tina Nelson/Tell Us Detroit

By Abenaah Ezrah/Tell Us Detroit

DETROIT (Tell Us Det) – Fans from all around the world were out to enjoy the music in the scorching hot temperatures. Artists included Josh Wink, Pirahnahead, Maya Jane Coles, Keef Boxx, Calico and many others

Tell Us Detroit had the opportunity to speak with ‘House Gansta’ DJ Sneak, Sneak briefly spoke about finding inspiration from his heritage and his love for Detroit being as strong as his love for his hometown. “I have as much love for Detroit as I do Chicago. Detroit is my second home!”

Hip Hop DJ, Loco Dice was asked about what underground records he put out and how DJ’s ‘expose the unwanted records,’ Loco replied stating “that’s difficult, because all we do is put out records that know one knows about.”

“Made In Detroit,” is what Homegrown DJ, Dwayne Jensen quoted after being ask about his influences and hometown inspiration.

Finally, Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Flava Flav, were a wild pair, but tamed enough to spell out the true significance of their influence in Hip Hop and Rap. Introducing Public enemy to the stage was Hip Hop star, actor and director, Ice T

Movement has official after parties at some of Detroit’s hot spots such Bleu, Detroit Princess, The Majestic Theater, and St. Andrews Hall. For more information visit

Movement 2012 #MovementDetroit #TellUsDetroit



Thank You! #MamorialDay #TellUsDetroit

Think ‘glocal’ and move Michigan to its next level #ThinkGlobal #TellUsDetroit

Op-Ed By Tom Watkins/Tell Us Detroit

As Michigan’s powerful gather on Mackinac Island they need to think “glocal,” both global and local.

The annual watering hole gathering of Michigan’s top civic, business, labor, education, government, political and foundation elite is set to begin.

Beginning May 29, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference will draw up to 1,500 of Michigan’s “movers and shakers” to Mackinac Island. They will eat, drink and mingle on the world’s largest porch at the Grand Hotel to gab about the state’s problems and opportunities.

One opportunity that is front and center is China. China is home to the fastest growing world economy, a rising middle class, with 1.4 billion potential customers for us to tap.

Gov. Rick Snyder, reversing multiple years of playing “Peking duck” with China, traveled to the Land of the Economic Dragon in his first six months in office. He sent a signal to the Chinese that Michigan is open for business and wants to develop mutually beneficial relationships to seal deals.

Michigan’s new governor understands we have many goods and services to sell the Chinese along with an equal number of investment opportunities for newly wealthy Chinese to invest in Michigan.

This governor “gets it” when he says, “It’s all about creating jobs for Michigan families and creating bright futures for our kids.”

Michigan must adapt to the 21st century global economy through innovation and collaboration in order to succeed.

Fareed Zakaria, CNN contributor, and Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times columnist, will be “keynoters” at the conference. They may want to remind the audience that Michigan is two beautiful peninsulas– not an island and while we dithered, the world moved forward.

Snyder understands Michigan can and must be open to global trade and investment and has set in place policies and programs to assist.

In the past, much of the conversation in Michigan surrounding China has been negative. I have argued for some time that the China wave is coming. We have a choice: Do nothing and be swamped, or learn to surf and ride the wave.

The tide has been turning since Deng Xiaoping opened China’s doors to the world 30 years ago. Their economy has grown at double digits even as much of Michigan turned to hand-wringing.

Building Harmony At Home And Seeking Global Partners

During the recent 20th anniversary of the Chinese Association of Greater Detroit’s annual dinner, China’s Chicago-based Consul General, Yang Guoqiang made it clear that China values our state and region. Yang said, “the opportunity exists to build on the strength and needs of Michigan and China that can be mutually beneficial.”

We welcome the Consular General’s knowledge, connections and facilitation that may help us build solid, productive and mutually beneficial bridges with China that represents an ancient civilization – and one-fifth of all humanity in the fastest-growing world economy.

China continues to evolve and change. There are more and more signs that China is once again shifting its state-controlled “Capitalism, with Chinese characteristics”, and moving from an exports-dominated economy to one with greater emphasis on domestic consumer spending.

This shift is driven by the slowdown in the global economy, especially in the U.S. and the European Union amid the growing discretionary income now available to more and more Chinese citizens.

It is said more than 400 million Chinese have moved from abject poverty to the equivalent of a Chinese middle class over the past three decades.

World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick said, “China’s leaders have recognized that the country’s growth model, which has been so successful for the past 30 years, will need to be changed to accommodate new challenges.” Moving from an export economy to a more and more of a domestic consumption economy is growing.

London-based Goldman Sachs Asset Management macro-economist Anna Stupnytska says, “The rise of the Chinese consumer will be the most important trend in the coming decade.”

Michigan Connection

Many may ask, “Who cares?” Everyone in Michigan and America should. The China market is the 21st century consumer gold mountain of economic opportunity.

Understanding that doing business in China is not the equivalent of an economic “one-night-stand” the governor and his team have follow-up trips planned for this autumn. We can travel to “Red” China as a way to make “green”/cash and create jobs in Michigan.

Michigan and America have much that a newly-demanding Chinese consumer wants and needs. With leadership, opportunities abound.

Exports, Autos and Technology

China is Michigan’s third largest export market, behind only Canada and Mexico. The potential for growth is exponential.

GM and Ford have been and will continue to do well, building and selling cars in China. If it were not for the Chinese market, neither company’s bottom line would be as black as it is today.

The Chinese are seeking both new technologies and management skills that exist in abundance in Michigan.


Think blueberries. The Chinese love blueberries and Michigan is a world’s leading producer of this fruit.

Dairy products, cattle, corn, hogs, soybeans, turkey, chicken, wheat, and sugar beets are some of the many products we could be selling in China.

Food quality and safety is a hot topic in China. Scandals with tainted milk, fake products, and toxic food additives are near daily occurrences that spark fear and outrage throughout the country.

The Chinese are tech savvy and technology is ubiquitous from the mega cities to the country-side. Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, lights up like an airport runway when a food or other scandal erupts.

Knowledge is power and the average Chinese has more yuan (Chinese currency) in their pockets to spend and more knowledge to demand greater value for their money.


With one-fifth of the world’s population, an ancient civilization of over 5,000 years, rapid industrialization and a rising economy, China faces environmental challenges and a need to enhance sustainable practices on a scale only matched by the vast size of the country.

China is in the process of erecting entire new cities that are building sustainable practices from the foundations up.

We can make green from China’s dirt by helping clean their air, lakes, streams and land that have been degraded by the country’s rapid growth. We have both the technology and experience addressing our own pollution crisis.

We can work together to help build a better and more sustainable planet.


Michigan has attracted the seventh highest amount of Chinese direct investment since 2003 and there is more Chinese yuan available. Many estimate China will invest over a trillion U.S. dollars world-wide over the next decade. Michigan would be wise to get its fair share.

Eric Huang, doing his part, organized the second annual Detroit International Advanced Manufacturing Technology Show (DIAMTS) October 23-23, 2012. Mr. Huang sees Michigan as an “international gateway for worldwide customers as the 21st century unfolds.”

For more information on DIAMTS go or call 248 461-2678.

MEDC Builds Bridge To China

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Export Now, an export services company, have partnered to launch a China export initiative for small business. As a result, Michigan consumer goods companies interested in reaching 1.3 billion new customers in the fastest growing economy in the world can now do so.

The program will offer Michigan companies the opportunity to test their products in the Chinese consumer market with limited risk. “This unique exporting program builds on Gov. Rick Snyder’s mission to China last fall,” said MEDC President and CEO Michael A. Finney.

With support from MEDC, Michigan companies will pay only $1,000 to sign up with Export Now and use the service for one year, two-thirds less than the usual $3,000 charge. Michigan companies will ship goods on consignment to an Export Now depot in California, where shipments are consolidated and forwarded to Export Now’s Shanghai distribution center.

“This program opens up one of the world’s largest markets to Michigan’s food and agriculture businesses,” said Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Keith Creagh.

“New customers mean more sales and that translates into jobs,” Frank Lavin, CEO of Export Now, explained. Lavin continued,“Through our unique e-commerce solution, we eliminate the challenges of language, culture and regulation that prevent many small businesses from entering new markets.”

For more information visit: and indicate “Export Now” in the comments box, or call MEDC’s customer contact center at 888-522-0103.

With continued entrepreneurial spirit and leadership, embracing our Chinese colleagues here and across the ocean can only help Michigan prosper.

So, as our state leaders gather on an island remember to fix Michigan’s problems so we can be competitive on the world stage.

Tom Watkins has a life-long interest in China sparked by a fourth-grade teacher. He has traveled, worked and written extensively about China for over a quarter century. He is a former Michigan state superintendent of schools, CEO of the Palm Beach County Economic Council and is currently a U.S./China consultant. He can be reached at:


%d bloggers like this: