Agenda Released For 2018 Policy Conference



2018 Northern Michigan Policy Conference Agenda

11:30 – Lunch

12:00 – Opening & Welcome
Amy Clickner, Lake Superior Community Partnership of Marquette
Kent Wood, Chamber Alliance Director of Government Relations


1:15 – 2018 Review of Legislative Priorities
Kent Wood


1:30 – Life After the Election

Sarah Hubbard, Acuitas, LLC


Refreshment/Networking Break


2:15 – Federal Outlook

Ben Taylor, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Regional Director

2:30 – Visioning the Future: What Does Northern Michigan Economy Look Like in 2030?

Terry VanderCook, Northwest MI Works!

Lisa McComb, Otsego County Economic Alliance

Marty Fittante, InvestUP

Warren Call, Grand Traverse EDC

Amy Clickner, Lake Superior Community Partnership

3:15 – Polling

Refreshment/Networking Break

3:30 – Alliance 2019-2020 Agenda: How Can You Have An Impact?
Kent Wood & Sarah Hubbard

4:00 – The Importance of Northern Michigan Leadership

            State Representative Triston Cole (105th – Mancelona), 2019-2020 House Majority Floor Leader-elect

4:30 – Closing & Legislative Reception


Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor to help make this event possible:



2018 Election Overview

Election overview courtesy of:

Acuitas Color (RGB) Logo - JPEG

Whitmer Elected Governor of Michigan

  • Gretchen Whitmer was elected Michigan’s 49th governor.  With Whitmer’s win, former Detroit city official Garlin Gilchrist II of Detroit becomes the state’s first African-American lieutenant governor. The pair will be sworn in at noon Jan. 1, 2019 to succeed Gov. Rick Snyder and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley. Whitmer defeated Attorney General Bill Schuette.  Throughout the campaign, every publicly released poll on the race never showed her trailing. From mid-2017 to the present, Whitmer’s lead ranged from 14 to 5 percentage points


Dana Nessel Elected Attorney General

  • Democrat Dana Nessel has won a close race for attorney general over Republican House Speaker Tom Leonard.  Through the early morning, Ms. Nessel’s lead tightened to as little as 38,000 votes. But then it began to grow and with 93 percent of the precincts reporting just after 6 a.m., she had 1,878,621 votes to Mr. Leonard’s 1,791,896. We expect Nessel to bring a strong consumer protection approach back to the office of Attorney General.


Jocelyn Benson Elected to Secretary of State

  • Jocelyn Benson’s nine-year quest to oversee Michigan’s elections was realized as she overcame Republican Mary Treder Lang to become the state’s 43rd Secretary of State. The race was called at 9:23 p.m. after Benson worked up clear margins in the traditional Republican strongholds of Kent County and high-population competitive areas like Macomb County


Michigan Supreme Court Results Still Out, Favor a Split

  • With the final precincts still out Incumbent Justice Elizabeth Clement (who was appointed by Governor Snyder in 2017) and Democrat Nominee, Megan Cavanagh are holding narrow leads to be elected into the two open seats on the Michigan Supreme Court.  Incumbent Kurtis Wilder will likely be leaving the Court.


Stabenow Defeats James for U.S. Senate

  • Senator Debbie Stabenow defeated Republican challenger John James to win a 4th term in the U.S. Senate. In a race that never was in doubt, Stabenow, 68, used her $17.4 million political war chest to crush James, a political war veteran, under the weight of inevitability. With the U.S. Senate Republicans focused on keeping control of the upper chamber by backing their incumbents, James’ race fell off the radar at the federal level.


Democrats Flip Two Republican Congressional Seats

  • Democrats and Republicans will represent the same number for Michigan in the U.S. House in 2019-2020 after the Democratic nominees Elissa Slotkin and Haley Stevens captured the 8th and 11th districts, respectively, amid strong Democratic turnout statewide. Slotkin, a former national security official under two administrations, will become the first Democrat in 18 years to represent the 8th Congressional District after narrowly unseating U.S. Rep. Mike Bishop (R). Stevens polled particularly well in Wayne County while Epstein wasn’t able to make up enough ground in more rural areas of Oakland County, her association with Trump making her toxic in the district’s more white-collar areas. The 11th Congressional District was previously held by retiring U.S. Rep. David Trott (R).


GOP Holds Majority in Michigan House and Senate

  • Republicans managed to salvage a 22-16 majority in the state Senate after winning seven of the 12 arguably competitive seats in play. In the House, Democrats picked up five seats, bringing them to 52- four short of a majority. The final tally secures Republican control the legislative branch from 2019-22 and prevents Gov.-Elect Gretchen Whitmer from having a Democratic legislature in her first term.

Voters OK All Three Ballot Proposals

  • Voters approved all three ballot proposals:
    • Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol: Under the proposal, adults 21 and older may purchase, possess and use marijuana and marijuana edibles. People can also grow up to 12 plants for personal consumption. There will be a 10-ounce limit for marijuana kept at residences, and any amount over 2.5 ounces would need to be locked away, according to the proposal language.
    • Voters Not Politicians: Creates a 13-member commission to re-draw district lines after the 2020 census, replacing the current system that tasks the Legislature. It also establishes new redistricting criteria including geographically compact and contiguous districts of equal population, reflecting Michigan’s diverse population and communities of interest.
    • Promote the Vote: Codifies no-reason absentee, straight-ticket as well as Election Day registration and voting into the state’s constitution, among other provisions aimed at making it easier to cast a ballot.

Results – US House of Representatives

All 14 members of members of the Michigan Congressional delegation were up for reelection. Three seats were considered “open” due to the incumbent stepping down, with an additional three seats considered likely to flip. The 8th district (Republican Mike Bishop) flipped to Democrat Elissa Slotkin, and the 11th District (Retiring Republican David Trott) flipped to Democrat Haley Stevens. Representation is now a 7-7 split between Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. House. The following candidates won their elections:

District 1

  • Jack Bergman (incumbent): A former Marine general, pilot, and businessman, has pushed for lower taxes, a stronger national defense, and protections for gun owners.

District 2

  • Bill Huizenga (incumbent): Having replaced former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra in 2011, Huizenga is in his fourth two-year term and is a subcommittee chairman on the House Financial Services Committee.  Huizenga represents one of most Republican districts in the state but has diverged with Trump on several issues, including family separations at the southern border.

District 3

  • Justin Amash (incumbent): Currently serving his fourth term, Amash is a self-styled “small government” conservative who has challenged the Administration on numerous occasions. He was favored to win reelection.

District 4

  • John Moolenaar (incumbent): A second-term incumbent, former Dow Chemical chemist, state legislator, and Michigan’s only member on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. He is a staunch conservative, believing that government spending must be cut, taxes reformed, and the Affordable Care Act repealed.

District 5

  • Dan Kildee (incumbent): A third-term incumbent, Kildee was the presumed winner.

District 6

  • Fred Upton (incumbent): Poised to become the dean of the state’s delegation to Congress with last night’s victory, Upton of St. Joseph has been representing southwestern Michigan since 1987.

District 7

  • Tim Walberg (incumbent): Formerly served in the Michigan Legislature. Walberg has held the seat since 2006 but was temporarily unseated by Democrat Mark Schauer before regaining it in 2010.

District 8

  • Elissa Slotkin: Slotkin served in Iraq as a CIA analyst, in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the State Department, and the Defense Department under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. She was later nominated for Assistant Secretary of Defense by President Obama. Slotkin’s victory was considered a major upset among congressional races.

District 9

  • Andy Levin: Levin is the son of 18-term congressman Sander Levin (who is stepping down this year) and served in the Labor Department under Governor Jennifer Granholm. Levin was favored to win this seat.

District 10

  • Paul Mitchell (incumbent): Mitchell is a one-term incumbent who ran unopposed in the Michigan primary. During his first term, he has focused on transportation and infrastructure and was favored to win.

District 11

  • Haley Stevens: Stevens is a former director of workforce development and manufacturing engagement for the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute. She previously served in the Obama administration as a COS on the US Auto Rescue Taskforce. Stevens was polling slightly ahead of Epstein and was able to pull ahead late in the evening.

District 12

  • Debbie Dingell (incumbent): Dingell is a second-term incumbent and ran unopposed in the primary. She is the wife of former congressman John Dingell and was favored to win reelection.

District 13

  • Rashida Tlaib: A public interest lawyer and former three-term state representative who ran to both finish out Congressman John Conyer’s remaining term and for the general election. While she lost the special election (putting councilwoman Brenda Jones in the seat for eight weeks), she succeeded in winning the November nomination and was the assumed winner going into the general.

District 14

  • Brenda Lawrence (incumbent): The two-term incumbent ran unopposed in the August primary and was favored to win.


Results – Michigan House

All 110 of Michigan’s legislative seats were up for reelection last night, with nearly 40 losing incumbents due to term limits. While losing five seats to Democrats, the GOP was able to pick up one and hold onto its majority with a 58-52 spread. Minority leader Rep. Sam Singh (East Lansing) is termed out with numerous Democrats vying for his position. The following seats were considered contested and ranked in their likelihood to flip (winners listed first):

  • 62nd District (Battle Creek): Jim Haadsma defeated Dave Morgan
  • 40th District (Oakland Co.): Mari Manoogian defeated David Wolkinson
  • 41st District (Oakland Co.): Padma Kuppa defeated Doug Tietz
  • 20th District (Oakland Co.): Matt Koleszar defeated Rep. Jeff Noble
  • 71st District (Eaton Co.): Angela Witwer defeated Christine Barnes
  • 19th District (Wayne Co.): Laurie Pohutsky defeated Brian Meakin
  • 110’th District (Baraga): Gregory Markkanen defeated Ken Summers


Results – Michigan Senate

In the MI State Senate, all 38 seats were up for reelection and will see 26 new members due to term limits. The GOP lost five seats, but still hold a majority at 22-16. The new Majority Leader will likely be Senator Mike Shirkey (Jackson). Minority Leader Jim Ananich (Flint) will likely be re-elected to that role. The following races were considered contested and ranked on their likelihood to flip (winners listed first):

  • 29th District (Grand Rapids): Rep. Winnie Brinks defeated Rep. Chris Afendoulis
  • 13th District (Oakland Co.): Mallory McMorrow defeated Sen. Marty Knollenberg
  • 12th District (Oakland Co.): Rosemary Bayer defeated Mike McCready*
  • 20th District (Kalamazoo): Sean McCann defeated Sen. Margaret O’Brien
  • 34th District (Muskegon): Rep. Jon Bumstead defeated Poppy Sias-Hernandez
  • 38th District (UP):  Ed McBroom defeated Rep. Scott Dianda
  • 10th District (Macomb Co.): Michael McDonald defeated Rep. Henry Yanez
  • 7th District (Wayne Co.): Dayna Polehanki defeated Laura Cox
  • 24th District (Grtr Lansing/Out County): Rep. Tom Barrett defeated Kelly Rossman-McKinney
  • 15th District (Oakland Co.): Rep. Jim Runestad defeated Julia Pulver

Vote NO On Proposal 18-1

Image result for vote no

A vote on whether to legalize recreational marijuana will be part of the November 6 statewide ballot, identified as Proposal 18-1, and the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance is joining groups around the state to oppose the measure.

“Given marijuana’s status at the federal level, and legal liability on both ends for business owners, the Chamber Alliance feels Proposal 18-1 is not right for Michigan at this time,” said Kent Wood, Director of Government Relations for the Chamber Alliance.

{Read Our Issue Brief – Recreational Marijuana}

“Each of the nine chambers took at look at this measure and got feedback from their members. The feedback has been overwhelming in concern about the impacts on business owners in the region. What kind of liability does this open up for employers who are required by law to provide “zero tolerance” workplaces, and how will they test for compliance? Until those concerns are addressed, the Chamber Alliance is opposed to efforts to legalize recreational marijuana,” said Wood.

Highlighting the region’s concerns are:

  • Lack of clarity at the federal level. Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, and it is unclear how the federal government will handle this direct conflict of federal law in certain areas such as states/organizations receiving federal funding, banks dealing with finances, and other businesses providing services for businesses or individuals involved in this trade.
  • No Impairment test. There is no on-demand impairment test for marijuana at this time, requiring employers to rely on blood and urine tests, neither of which can reliably provide information about present impairment. This causes a significant human resource dilemma, especially in skilled trade and heavy industry sectors.
  • Liability On Both Ends. Employers have a responsibility to protect all employees. Under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, employers are required to provide their employees with a place of employment that “is free from recognizable hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious harm to employees.” Failure to do so opens employers to liability and lawsuits. Yet, there is no way to regulate marijuana in the workplace outside of current drug testing protocols.
  • Protection for employers. There are a host of unanswered questions surrounding drug-free work place policies and employer rights. This means that courts will have the final say in how these work place policies and rights will be treated under the proposed legalization law. Uncertainty of this kind is not in the business community’s best interest.

Because the above issues critical to business have not been addressed in the ballot language, the Chamber Alliance opposes the measure to legalize and regulate marijuana on the November 2018 ballot.

SEE The Official Ballot Language

Learn More: Healthy and Productive Michigan



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