Candidates Get Down To Business

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

They're making their pitches.

"I want to be the number one place in the country to do business," says Lansing mayor and democratic gubernatorial hopeful Virg Bernero.

They're convincing the constituents.

"Economic development is one of my wheelhouses. I love economic development," says Ann Arbor businessman and republican candidate Rick Snyder.

And they're doing it in front of one of the most influential crowds in the state-- the business community. At the West Michigan Policy Forum, both Snyder and Bernero talked to business leaders for 45 minutes each. We spoke one-on-one to Bernero afterward.

"I wanted to tell them I'm the pro-business mayor. I've gotten results. It's easy to talk about bi-partisanship and balancing budgets. We've done it in Lansing," Bernero says.

And at an event later on in Grand Rapids, we heard from Snyder.

"We need to get to the point of having a government that's responsible, giving great customer service and shows a return on investment to its citizens," he says.

At that second event, Snyder also unveiled his proposal to eliminate the Michigan Business Tax, and instead institute a six percent corporate income tax.

"I'm encouraged by what I hear," says Art Van Elslander, founder of Art Van Furniture. He says he sees promise in both candidates, talking first about Bernero.

"I thought he was very good. I think Rick did a wonderful job as well," he says.

Jim Dunlap, president of Huntington Bank Michigan says, "They're committed, they're passionate, they care-- I don't have any suspicions about their intent whatsoever."

Of course, the crowd and media were quick to inquire about the debate drama going on between the two candidates.

"I'm going to have coffee with him," Snyder says, joking that they had their moment during Snyder's town hall Monday in Westland, when Bernero showed up and was invited to participate.

"We're still looking at it. We haven't given up," Bernero says.

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