MACKINAC ISLAND (WJRT) -
(05/28/14) - Michigan's business and political leaders are gathered on Mackinac Island for the thirty-fourth annual Mackinac Policy Conference.
Over the rest of the week, they will talk about some of the biggest hurdles facing our state, and the best ways to get around them.
The Grand Hotel is where the discussion takes place on how to fix our state's challenges, who to put in what key roles, and the big topic this year - Detroit's bankruptcy.
About 1,500 people are there for the conference.
Over the next several days, there will be talks about the auto industry, education and money troubles in our state. The state's political and business movers and shakers will discuss policies, laws, taxes - almost everything that will eventually trickle down and impact those who call Michigan home.
"This is a place announcements are made. These conversations turn into policy. It's an important gathering," said Lt. Gov. Brian Calley.
Gov. Snyder kicked things off Wednesday afternoon, welcoming people to the Island and opening up the three day dialogue about his state.
"Us deciding as Michiganders we are going to go be the best, working together, two or three years," Gov. Snyder said.
There will be a number of key note addresses over the next couple of days, including from Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr and former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.
This is also a political year. One of the biggest races Michigan voters will decide is the race for U.S. Senate.
On the island, Wednesday, were the two people who want the seat that's open with the retirement of Senator Carl Levin - candidates former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land and U.S. Representative Gary Peters.
We sat down with both earlier on Wednesday. They are split on several issues, but come together on one - fixing Michigan's economy.
"I want to listen to the voters, and go down to Washington DC and work for Michigan," Land said.
"We have big, big challenges in Michigan, and big, big challenges in the country. We have to have folks that are willing to go to Washington and say, 'I'm going to stop the political finger pointing and stop the games," Peters said.
The race to represent the people of Michigan has kicked into high gear.
Land tells ABC12 that she's adamant about working with Gov. Snyder, shrinking government and creating job growth.
"That's most important here in the state is a good paying job. Detroit put America on wheels, we need to do that again, we need to make sure the American government doesn't overburden businesses and families," she said.
Peters says he wants to work with Washington D.C. to help Michigan create business and job opportunities.
"We have incredible innovators. We have incredible entrepreneurs. We just have to make sure they have the tools to grow," he said.
As of now, there are no debates scheduled between the two, but Wednesday, they each took a few questions from people during a meeting separately.
According to our exclusive ABC12/Epic MRA poll, Peters currently has an edge over Land - 44 percent to 38 percent.
Our live coverage from Mackinac picks back up Thursday, with another full day of events at the Policy Conference. Stay with ABC12 News and abc12.com.