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Across party lines: the Chamber PAC's bipartisan picks work for business.

The Detroit Regional Chamber Political Action Committee (PAC) is the voice for business in key local, state and federal races, impacting the business climate and quality of life of Southeast Michigan.


The PAC is successful in electing pro-business candidates that are working to reduce business taxes, control the spiraling costs of health care, protect the environment and our natural resources, improve the transportation systems that connect businesses to customers and reduce the administrative and cost burden of regulatory policy on business.

Endorsement is based on several criteria, including the candidate's experience and qualifications, proven track-record of accomplishment and history of support for our pro-business public policy agenda.

"These individuals understand what it takes to create jobs and grow businesses," said Chamber PAC Board Chairman Terence A. Thomas, Sr., chief advocacy officer with St. John Health, about the 2008 endorsements. "The PAC has a strong history of success in electing candidates who support the Chamber's pro-business agenda."

Notable among the Chamber PAC's endorsements this year are Justice Cliff Taylor for re-election to the State Supreme Court, L. Brooks Patterson for Oakland County Executive and several federal legislators running for re-election to office. The Chamber PAC endorsements also include candidates running for the recently formed Macomb Charter Commission responsible for leading the county's efforts to establish a County Executive form of government.

Endorsed candidates for the 2008 election

Federal Legislators

Carl Levin (D)

John Dingell (D)

Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D)

Joe Knollenberg (R)

Michigan Supreme Court

Justice Cliff Taylor (R)

State House Candidates

John Accavitti (R-Chesterfield)

Justin Amash (R-Cascade Twp.)

Kathy Angerer (D-Dundee)

Dick Ball (R-Bennington Twp.)

Jase Bolger (R-Richland)

Bryan Brandenburg (R-Harrison Twp.)

Pam Byrnes (D-Chelsea)

Barb Byrum (D-Onondaga)

Joan Bauer (D-Lansing)

Brian Calley (R-Portland)

Bill Caul (R-Mt. Pleasant)

Ed Clemente (D-Lincoln Park)

Bob Constan (D-Dearborn Heights)

Hugh Crawford (R-Novi)

Marc Corriveau (D-Northville)

Andy Coulouris (D-Saganaw)

George Cushingberry (D-Detroit)

Cindy Denby (R-Hamberg)

Larry DeShazor (R-Portage)

Andy Dillon (D-Redford)

Marie Donigan (D-Royal Oak)

Fred Durhal (D-Detroit) Kevin Elsenheimer (R-Bellaire)

Doug Geiss (D-Taylor)

Lee Gonzales (D-Flint)

Kevin Green (R-Wyoming)

Gail Haines (R-Waterford)

Richard Hammel ((D-Flushing)

Geoff Hansen (R-Hart)

Dave Hildenbrand (R-Lowell)

Kenneth Horn (R-Frankenmuth)

Shanelle Jackson (D-Detroit)

Bert Johnson (D-Detroit)

Andrew Kandrevas (D-Detroit)

Marty Knollenberg (R-Troy)

Eileen Kowall (R-Highland)

Kenneth Kurtz (R-Hillsdale)

Todd LaJoy (R-Canton)

Mary Treder Lang (R-Grosse Pointe Farms)

Richard LeBlanc (D-Westland)

Gabe Leland (D-Detroit)

LaMar Lemons (D-Detroit)

Ellen Cogen Lipton (D-Ferndale)

Lesia Liss (D-Warren)

Pete Lund (R-Romeo)

James Marleau (R-Lake Onon)

Jeff Mayes (D-Bay City)

Mark Meadows (D-East Lansing)

Arlan Meekhof (R-Olive Twp.)

Tim Melton (D-Auburn Hills)

Kim Meltzer (R-Clinton Twp.)

Gregory Moore (R-Battle Creek)

Chuck Moss (R-Birmingham)

David Nathan (D-Detroit)

Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair)

Tom Pearce (R-Rockford)

Amy Peterman (R-Commerce TWP)

Gino Polidon (D-Dearborn)

John Proos (R-St. Joseph)

Tory Rocca (R-Sterling Heights)

Bill Rogers (R-Brighton)

Tonya Schuitmaker (R-Lawton)

Bettie Scott (D-Detroit)

Paul Scott (R-Grand Blanc)

Joel Sheltrown (D-West Branch)

Jim Slezak (D-Burton)

Alma Wheeler Smith (D-Ypsilanti)

Dudley Spade (D-Tipton)

Jim Stamas (R-Mount Pleasant)

Jon Switalski (D-Warren)

Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit)

Sharon Tyler (R-Baroda)

John Walsh, Jr. (R-Livonia)

Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor)

Paul Welday (R-Farmington Hills)

Jimmy Womack (D-Detroit)

Coleman Young, Jr. (D-Detroit)

Oakland County Executive

L. Brooks Patterson (R)

Oakland County Commission

Bill Bullard (R-Chairman)

Jean Chamberlain (R)

Eric Coleman (D)

David Coulter (D)

Tim Greimel (D)

Michael T. Rogers (R)

Shelley Taub (R)

Wayne County Sheriff

Warren Evans (D)

Wayne County Commission

Alisha Bell (D)

Laura Cox (R)

Joseph Palamara (D)

Jewell Ware (D-Chair)

Keith Williams (D)

Macomb County Charter Commission

Melanie Davis (R)

Vincent Viviano (R)

Clarence Meltzer (R)

Judy Hartwell (D)

Daniel Acciavatti (R)

Macomb County Commission

Andrey Duzyj (D)

Susan Doherty (D)

Joan Flynn (D)

Robert Mijac (D)

Ken Lampar (D)

Don Brown (R)

Keith Rengert (R)

Frank Accavitti Jr. (D)

William Crouchman (D)

Kathy Vosburg (R)

Macomb County Sheriff

Mark A. Hackel (D)

In their own words

We asked the PAC-endorsed candidates: Why are you the best choice for business?

State House Candidates

John Accavitti (R)

Through my experience in business, I have first hand knowledge about what it takes to create jobs and improve our economy. Michigan must become more competitive with other states by eliminating job-killing regulations and burdensome taxes, like the MBT surcharge tax. I helped failing businesses thrive and I want to do the same for Michigan.


Jase Bolger (R)

Through starting a small business 12 years ago and operating that business today: I understand what it takes to compete for work and struggle with tax codes and red tape. I know politicians and government don't create jobs, people do.


Pam Byrnes (D)

I am the candidate who knows to compete in a knowledge-based economy, we must invest in our schools and universities. As Bill Gates has said "... [high-tech industries] are far more sensitive to the quality of talent in a location than they are to the tax policies.


Marc Corriveau (D)

I will fight to make Michigan competitive by simplifying and streamlining the Michigan Business Tax and reducing the tax burden on our businesses. By diversifying our economy, we can make Michigan a magnet for investment, which will create jobs and help get Michigan's economy headed in the right direction.


Cindy Denby (R)

My 10 years of experience as a business owner gives me a good perspective on challenges currently faced by businesses in Michigan. For 16 years I have served as a township official and EDC of Livingston County member; known for its successful business retention/attraction programs.


Kenneth Horn (R)

As a former business owner and member of many local Chambers of Commerce, the business community is a natural constituency. It is the private sector unhindered that will provide Michigan with its economic recovery. Tax and regulatory practices must be reined in to allow the entrepreneurial spirit to flourish.


Marty Knollenberg (R)

As a small business owner for more than 20 years. I bring this unique perspective to the legislature. My philosophy is that government doesn't create jobs, but rather creates an environment for job providers to succeed. As core businesses are retooling operations the state needs to do the same.


Chuck Moss (R)

It's a basic principle that people must be free to keep what they labor to create. Otherwise they won't create it, or will go create it somewhere else. I have a track record of supporting Michigan businesses' right to create wealth and jobs, free of profit-killing burdens from government.


Tom Pearce (R)

The greatest priority for our state is economic recovery. We in state government need to build a business-friendly climate in Michigan by making business taxes the simplest and most competitive in our region, reducing regulation and streamlining the permitting process. This is what I'm fighting for.


Tonya Schuitmaker (R)

As a firm advocate for a comprehensive approach to economic development. I believe there are three fundamental areas where government may be a catalyst for growth. First is to support infrastructure, second is to implement a competitive tax policy and lastly, and arguably most important, is to support the development of an educated workforce.


Federal Legislator

Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D)

I am working to secure a $25 billion loan to help automakers retool their facilities. I developed a tax expensing provision for small businesses and secured $17 million for the SBA's microloan program. I led the defeat of a gaming bill to protect 3,000 jobs and Detroit casinos.


Macomb County Charter Commission

Melanie Davis (R)

I've spent my career in the chamber of commerce industry, working to provide the best possible business environment for existing businesses and helping promote the area's attributes in an effort to attract new business. I have a clear understanding of the issues our business leaders are facing today, particularly in Macomb County, and my background provides me the right resources, relationships and tools to help address those issues.


Macomb County Commission

William Crouchman (D)

Maintaining and building a positive environment in which businesses can thrive while also attracting new investment is one of my top priorities. As a county leader, I am deeply committed to taking action which will help position Macomb County businesses as successful competitors in the global economy


Andrey Duzyj (D)

The support I show for business and economic development as a county commissioner grows from my personal experience as a small-business owner For 15 years, my company--Trig Tool Inc--has made prototype and experimental parts for the automotive, aerospace and machine tool industries I understand the problems of being in business in Southeast Michigan today and have a unique insight into what businesses need and want, from taxes to employment requirements. I also serve on Macomb County's Planning and Economic Development Committee and Warren's Tax Increment Financing Authority.


Ken Lampar (D)

I'm the best candidate for business for Macomb County Commissioner because I m a business owner providing event planning and grant writing services to companies and non-profit organizations. My education, career experience and community service provide me with the skills to effectively represent the people in Sterling Heights and Utica.


Oakland County Commission

David Coulter (D)

Government doesn't create jobs, but we can help promote the conditions that allow businesses to succeed. In Oakland County, I fought for a plan allowing small businesses to offer affordable health care for employees, and I support a preference for local companies and employers in the county's purchasing decisions.


Wayne County Commission

Laura Cox (R)

I support fostering economic growth through such means as reducing taxes, employing smart growth patterns, providing economic incentives and creating county institutions making it easier to do business. I've encouraged the development of local industries by creating targeted quality services and the creation of county institutions promoting small-businesses.


The Chamber's PAC has a strong track record of success in electing pro-business candidates:

2002 90 percent of PAC endorsed candidates were elected in Michigan House and Local Commission Races

2004 86 percent of PAC endorsed candidates were elected in Michigan House and Supreme Court Races

2005 90 percent of PAC endorsed candidates were elected in the General Election for the Detroit City Council and Detroit School Board.

2006 90 percent of PAC endorsed candidates were elected to office for U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, State Attorney General, Secretary of State, the Michigan House and Senate, and key races in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties.

Chamber PAC brings in a new board chair

* Terence A. Thomas, Sr. serves as the chief advocacy officer for the Michigan Market, as well as the corporate responsibility officer for St. John Health, one of Metro Detroit's largest health care systems. In his role, Thomas is responsible for leading the government affairs efforts for the entire Michigan Market and ensuring the ethical business operations at St. John Health.


Get involved For more information about the Detroit Regional Chamber's PAC and to learn how to contribute, contact Claudia Berry at 313-596-0329 or



Looking for more?

Response from the candidates was so overwhelming, we couldn't fit them all in the magazine! These are the ones that arrived first. Go to www.detroiteronline to read the rest of the responses.
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Date:Oct 1, 2008
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