Finding allies in unsuspected places: the Mackinac Conference

The Mackinac Policy Conference has a reputation of being a playground of the conservative business elite.

That’s not what I saw.

I went up for the Fusion young professionals track for the Conference, which is a sort of “kids table” to bring young leaders to the table and involve them in the discussion.

The conference attendees raised five issues as the top concerns for the state, including like transit, education, and green energy.

As a progressive, I can get behind these issues, and I’m excited to see the business community supporting them as well.

I admit, it’s not what I expected to see. I expected a litany of anti-tax, anti-environment, anti-labor hard-line conservative rhetoric. Instead I saw a lot of common ground and a desire to address problems that we can only address by bringing together the business, government, and nonprofit sectors.

So here’s my message to progressives: Stop running away from the conversation. We need to take our place at the table so we can build alliances and start solving some of these problems.

(And if that’s not enough of a motivation for you, here’s one more: it was an open bar every evening.)

One thought on “Finding allies in unsuspected places: the Mackinac Conference

  1. Grace Potts


    There is so _much_ more common ground to work from than many progressives are aware of.

    The scary thing from both sides of the equation is being open to real changes in direction and going where the collaboration leads you. But the fact is, where collaborations lead may well be better than where you had planned on going.


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