According to Barbara Allushuski, chair of the 2010 Mackinac Policy Conference, there will be three pillars to the conference: Jobs, education, and the year of political change.

“Everything we’re doing around the conference this year falls under one of these three pillars,” she said, adding that the Chamber is excited about the lineup of speakers.

She also said the team at the Chamber and the volunteer committee have done an “awesome” job of putting it together.

With regard to the “pillar” of political change, Allushuski said with the elections coming up next year, there will be a chance to have all the candidates interviewed at the conference.

“The Chamber and Business Leaders for Michigan have come together on a number of issues, and they will be — and have been — interviewing candidates for governor, for example,” she said. “And just really rallying businesses and interested citizens to getting behind one Michigan, and making sure we elect officials that are going to represent us and help us turn around this great state.”

Down the road, the Chamber will endorse candidates; and many of those endorsements will come out of interviews conducted at the conference and/or what the candidates do there.

Allushuski explained that one change this year is a narrower focus — the “three pillars” she had mentioned.

“I think getting government and business to come together and be on the same page is very exciting,” she said. “I think something like Interns for Michigan and getting businesses and CEOs behind supporting hiring interns, so they stay in our state, and young college graduates don’t leave the state, is incredibly exciting.”

She also said cited Robert Bobb’s work in the school district.

“This will be much talked about,” she said. “We’re going to be benchmarking some other very significant turnaround cities like Pittsburgh. We will be having a team from the Allegheny Coalition in Pittsburgh talk to us about how they turned their city around, so we can benchmark some other turnaround situations.”

She called it encouraging that they will be able to see what other cities have done in similar situations.

She also believes having former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich speak about an economic turnaround and what it takes to have small businesses be a significant part of that — and the growth of small businesses in Michigan — is of major the past 17 years.

While many corporations have cut back on their commitment to community endeavors during challenging economic times, Comerica Bank has been an unquestioned leader in efforts to make the city more accommodating to citizens through improved access to its varied banking services, a more inviting place to live through its development initiatives and campaigns, like Homefront.

We believe that Detroit is a better place to live, work and play due to  Comerica’s many efforts and we applaud their leadership.

Read the special edition of the Comerica-sponsored Homefront campaign inserted  in this week’s Chronicle.

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