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#MPC24 | U.S. Senate Debate Scheduled for May 30 Canceled

Michigan Business Network
May 22, 2024 8:00 AM

Detroit Regional Chamber logo

With disappointment, the Detroit Regional Chamber regrets to inform Mackinac Policy Conference attendees and Michigan voters across the state that there will not be a U.S. Senate debate at the Conference, as previously scheduled.

This is certainly not something we expected after we initially gauged campaigns' interest starting on April 1 and then commissioned a poll to determine participants, who were extended invitations on April 30.

But we have learned in recent days that leading candidates Republican Mike Rogers and Democrat Rep. Elissa Slotkin have declined to participate in what was envisioned as a bipartisan, one-stage forum to provide insight to all Michigan voters.

The leading candidates' refusal to engage in this vital forum points to a deeply concerning trend. It undermines our democratic process and hampers our state's progress. This is a clear reflection of today’s political dynamics, which increasingly discourage candidates from directly addressing voters' concerns. Today’s dynamics favor sound bites, clicks, and “likes” and let political strategy take precedence over informing voters by standing “in the arena” debating ideas, priorities, and values with others vying for the same position of public trust.

This decision to cancel the debate also marks a significant departure from a tradition of civic engagement and public discourse that has been upheld by leading candidates for statewide office at our Conference since 2010. The Mackinac Policy Conference can and should serve as a crucial platform for leading candidates for statewide office. Notable figures such as Gov. Rick Snyder, Ambassador Pete Hoekstra, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Sen. Gary Peters, and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer participated in debates at the event to foster a robust dialogue on issues that matter to Michiganders.

The Chamber welcomes the three candidates who agreed to debate, Republican Sandy Pensler and Democrats Nasser Beydoun and Hill Harper to next week’s Conference. We hope they take advantage of the opportunity to connect with Michigan’s leaders.

The Detroit Regional Chamber is committed to exploring solutions that will encourage better outcomes for the state. We believe in the potential of reforms such as a non-partisan primary, ranked-choice voting, or other innovative approaches that could reinvigorate our political landscape and ensure that elected officials genuinely listen to and serve their constituents.

For the latest Conference updates, visit detroitchamber.com/mpc.

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