Chamber members for change: two business leaders hope to shake things up.

Author:Mead, Chris
Position:FEATURE
 
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Each year, state and local units of government adopt hundreds of laws, rules and regulations, most of which have a direct impact on the bottom line of businesses across Southeast Michigan. That's why the Detroit Regional Chamber encourages its members to get involved in the political process.

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In this critical election year, some Chamber members are taking the ultimate step in political involvement - seeking elective office. In this special election issue, the Detroiter salutes two Chamber members who are running for the Michigan House of Representatives in competitive districts.

Meet Mary Treder Lang, CPA, business development manager at Accretive Solutions in Troy and John Walsh, executive director of development and government relations at Schoolcraft College in Livonia.

Mary Treder Lang: Repeal the Michigan Business Tax

Mary Treder Lang traces her decision to make her first bid for elective office to a conversation she had with her oldest son well over a year and a half ago.

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"He was starting his senior year in high school and he said to me, 'Mom, none of my buddies are coming back to Michigan. They're getting their college degrees and leaving. But I want to stay in Michigan, get a job, live in our community, get married and raise a family, just as you and Dad did."

That prompted Lang, a 26-year veteran in the business world but a stranger to the rough-and-tumble world of partisan politics, to step outside her comfort zone and launch a campaign for one of the most highly competitive seats in the Michigan House of Representatives.

The 1st House District is among the most diverse in Michigan, comprising the five Grosse Pointes plus Harper Woods and adjacent areas on the far east side of Detroit. The term-limited incumbent, Republican Ed Gaffney, was re-elected two years ago with less than 52 percent of the vote.

So far, the race has been anything but a cakewalk. Lang faced five challengers four of them well-known city council members - in August's Republican primary. She attributes her first-place finish to "my energy, my passion and commitment." She hopes those same attributes - plus her strong background in business and finance - will carry her to victory in November against Democrat Tim Bledsoe.

When talking with voters, Lang, 48, emphasizes her business background. Since graduating from the University of Dayton with a double major in accounting and marketing in 1982, Lang has worked in...

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