Mackinac Policy Conference 2023: That’s a wrap

By: - June 3, 2023 5:06 am

A pride flag flies from the porch of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island on June 1, 2023. (Andrew Roth/Michigan Advance)

Every year, hundreds of legislators, constitutional officers, lobbyists and journalists descend on Mackinac Island for a week filled with dozens of panel discussions, networking on the porch of the Grand Hotel and plenty of parties.

As Gov. Gretchen Whitmer reminded attendees, pacing oneself in both scheduling and alcoholic intake is important to a successful Mackinac Policy Conference.

While some major players in Michigan politics were absent this year – as the state’s congressional delegation canceled their appearances due to debt ceiling negotiations in Washington, D.C. – the conference featured keynote addresses from national figures such as former U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban and CNN anchor Fareed Zakaria, in addition to numerous panels, interviews and press conferences.

This year’s conference had the theme “The Power of &,” with speakers and panelists being asked their interpretation of that.

Cuban focused on the importance of diversity in businesses, taking aim at conservatives criticizing “woke businesses” like Disney, Target and Bud Light, while Cheney urged working together across partisan lines to defeat anti-democratic candidates or movements.

Whitmer, giving her annual keynote, similarly took shots at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ feud with Disney, but also made news with the creation of the nation’s first state chief growth officer, a new role housed within the Michigan Economic Development Council, and rolling out the first pillar of her “Make it in Michigan” economic development plan.

Here are some previously unseen photos from the island, as well as a few favorites from our previous coverage.

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Andrew Roth
Andrew Roth

Andrew Roth is a former reporting intern with the Michigan Advance. He has been covering Michigan policy and politics for three years across a number of publications and studies journalism at Michigan State University.