Business conference on Mackinac Island underway

Michigan

MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — The first full day of the Detroit regional chamber conference on Mackinac Island began Wednesday.

The conference is typically a hotbed of political activity, but this year some candidates for office have a different message for the business leaders and decision-makers on the island.

“I am fearless, so I’m coming in here and telling them that that the rich and the ultra-rich and corporations, many of that represented right here and see how fearless leader I can be I’m telling them that they need their fair share of taxes,” said Shri Thanedar, a Democratic candidate for governor.

He says he has no qualms about talking about subjects that may not play to his audience on Mackinac Island.

He’s not the only one, as fellow Democratic candidate Abdul El-Sayed is taking a similar approach. El-Sayed said he is bringing a message about people who aren’t attending the conference.

“(It’s) about the challenges that real people face, and the frustration that I have is a lot of these folks continue business as usual because they don’t have to live through the circumstances of a lot of folks in our state are living through,” he said. “They don’t have to worry about those fears, not paying for health care, they don’t have to worry about where their next paycheck is coming from.”

The progressive movement within the Democratic Party got a boost in a recent endorsement convention where Dana Nessel, the party’s nominee for attorney general, won the vote of confidence from the party.

“I’m here at the Mackinac policy conference, I’m enjoying myself and meeting a lot of interesting people,” Nessel said. “But these people are no more important than anybody else I would meet in any of Michigan’s 83 counties.”

The reception of these messages is varied, but El-Sayed thinks it may be getting through to people.

“I know that I represent a lot of folks who aren’t usually in the rooms like this when I have those conversations and to be honest, I give folks credit they’re listening,” he said.

The conference continues through Friday.

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