It's hard to believe a full year has gone by since 1 took the helm as chair of the Detroit Regional Chamber's Board of Directors. It was an exciting, rewarding and fast-paced twelve months.
As someone who has spent a lot of time in the arena of public policy, I can truly say the Chamber is a well-respected organization in local city halls, Lansing and Washington D.C. Our agenda for promoting public policies that help the Detroit Region create jobs and grow businesses would not be possible without the access and influence the Chamber has in the political arena.
We ail remember the Service Tax that was placed on businesses as part of last fall's budget deal for the state. The Chamber sprang into action by leading an alliance of organizations dedicated to repealing the tax. Around-the-clock negotiations and thousands of phone calls by businesses helped abolish this tax on job providers.
The Chamber also spearheaded a national grassroots coalition with over 40 business organizations to have Congress pass vehicle fuel efficiency standards that did not further undermine the American automotive industry. Last December, President Bush signed a new fuel economy law that is reasonable, achievable and protects American jobs.
The Workforce Innovation and Regional Economic Development program, known as WIRED, is making the most of its $5 million federal grant. The initiative, led by the Chamber, is aligning economic development strategies with talent development and retention efforts. Two innovative internship programs have been launched to help keep a skilled workforce in the region, which will help transform the region's economy.
A major public policy objective of the business community is to keep the Detroit/Windsor border open and secure for international trade. Federal regulations were proposed mandating a passport for drivers crossing the border. This would have severely restricted the flow of commerce across the border...