Ignition Media Group President and CEO Dennis Archer Jr. (left), Governor Gretchen Whitmer (center) and Real Times Media CEO and Michigan Chronicle publisher Hiram Jackson (right) pose after Whitmer’s speech during her program appearance at the annual Chichigan Pancakes & Politics Friday, March 18 at the Detroit Athletic Club.
Photo by Monica Morgan
The Michigan Chronicle kicked off its 17th annual “Pancakes and Politics” season with Gov. Whitmer, the governor’s chief speaker, who spoke about future policies and programs for Michigan residents at the Detroit Sports Club in front of approximately 300 attendees.
Organized by Ignition Media Group President and CEO Dennis Archer Jr., the event highlights business and economic issues over breakfast with local business and community leaders.
“Those of you who don’t know our first pancakes and politics were with Kwame Kilpatrick and L. Brooks Patterson,” said Hiram Jackson, chief executive officer of Real Times Media (RTM) and publisher of the Michigan Chronicle, adding that the future of the forum already here.
“For 17 years, Pancakes & Politics has consistently held influential and effective discussions about policies affecting Detroit.”
Jackson added that the media organization gave birth to the annual event due to the fact that people have more in common than not.
“Every spring, people from Wayne, Auckland, Ginisi, Washington – the whole region, we come here to talk about issues that we think are important to our region,” Jackson said. “Look around. You see ethnic groups of all fashions. White, black, people of all economic backgrounds. We only 17 years ago felt that everyone should be at the table when we discuss these big issues of public policy.”
Richard DeVore, regional president of Detroit and Southeast Michigan at the PNC, described the event as a “crossroads of the main and the main.”
“This is a place where you want to have a thoughtful, important conversation about all the important things in southeastern Michigan,” DeVore said during the event.
As the city, nation and world face the two-year COVID-19 pandemic, businesses, schools and societies are adapting to reduce (or eliminate) mask mandates and significantly reduce the number of positive COVID-19 cases as economic shifts affect their pockets due to high prices on gas and increasing the cost of living.
During the event in a video report by Digital Anchor Andre Esha, the Detroits talked about what harms their pockets.
One resident said, “Everything is growing except wages.”
Another resident was dissatisfied with local potholes that damaged her car “for the third time in three years.”
“Inflation worries everyone,” said one Detroiter, adding that it is not good if residents cannot afford gas or some basic necessities. “I feel that the (state) priorities will be the budget.”
After the video, Whitmer addressed the crowd and said that after a “long, lonely couple of years” isolated during the pandemic, the state is seeing a much-needed recovery, especially from a state economic standpoint. However, this may not be the case. Whitmer said the “economy is growing.”
“We are experiencing the best in history,” she said, noting that the state has added jobs over the past nine months. “Unemployment is declining.”
From $ 400 car insurance checks (mailboxes until Monday, May 9) to eliminating a $ 3 billion deficit across the state since May 2020 that has affected the black business, Whitmer said there are now far more job opportunities. When Michigan’s financial base is back in order, priorities for disenfranchised groups, job creation and economic stability are among the top priorities for its administration.
“Everything that affects our lives will now affect it,” she said, adding that the state now boasts a surplus of $ 7 billion. “It’s best that we have an open road ahead.”
On Wednesday, February 9, Whitmer initially presented to lawmakers a budget for 2023 of $ 74.1 billion in proposed spending. Michigan currently has serious surplus problems due to higher-than-expected tax revenues and federal aid on COVID-19.
Whitmer described the budget proposal for the next fiscal year as an “opportunity” that the state has not had for decades and does not raise state taxes while raising its credit rating.
Whitmer added that the state has come a long way after the deficit “destroyed” the black community in terms of business and beyond. Students also enjoy benefits.
“This budget also has the highest funding per student in the history of our state,” she said, adding that initiatives across the country continue to work to “bridge the gap” between students in richer and poorer areas.
“The pandemic was the biggest obstacle, and children need extra support,” Whitmer said.
From repairing local roads and bridges to proposed billion-dollar funding to create multi-million dollar grant programs for businesses that have not previously received funding from COVID – Whitmer focuses on equity and sustainable, long-term programs for families and workers. the right direction. However, she alone cannot do that, she said.
“We know that … a solid quality of life … should be what unites us,” she said, adding that Michigan should be a state that “invests in itself” by building things and empowering people. .
Empowerment includes assistance to the most vulnerable, including the homeless.
One participant asked during the session questions and answers what the state administration is doing to help this population.
Whitmer said the state recognizes that since coming out of the pandemic, many people are still fighting locally and around Michigan and the country.
Whitmer said tackling the root causes of homelessness (including home insecurity) is that she has given priority to $ 100 million in proposed funding to be donated to the Michigan Housing Development Office to work with affordable housing groups, among others. other areas.
“We have to do it, and we don’t prioritize resources,” she said, adding that using federal resources will help fight homelessness.
She also mentioned that building a psychiatric complex in Michigan would help mental health issues, which she said has been a topic in which “insufficient investment” has been made for decades.
“I think we can make a big difference in people’s lives,” she said, adding that the state has “an opportunity before us.”
“The strongest voice in the ears of any mayor is the voice of voters. Please continue to participate in this (democratic) process. “
Lynette Dowler, vice president of public relations, president and chairman of the DTE Energy Foundation at DTE Energy, echoed Whitmer’s views in the video that the DTE Foundation looks forward to positive, significant changes in education, the workforce and justice.
“After all, our investments cannot bring about positive change alone … we know we need to work together to create significant significant change in society,” Dowler said.
The Pancakes and Politics series, originally launched in 2006, continued to be a staple for the black community, providing a platform for change-makers, influencers and government leaders to express community concerns, share solutions and make change at the regional level.
The remaining forums are scheduled for April 21, May 19 and June 16 and will host an audience of invited business, political and community leaders. They will broadcast each forum to the public later – follow the broadcast dates on MichiganChronicle.com.