For the second time in less than a year, Shiawassee County commissioners Jeremy Root and Brandon Marks traveled to Washington D.C. to advocate for the residents of Shiawassee County. The two made their second trip in April 2018, in hopes of “attracting economic opportunities of all kinds to our county.” Marks and Root pleaded their case – that “Shiawassee County is as good as anywhere as far as being competitive for job attraction” – to both the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and the White House Office of Political Affairs.
Marks and Root were accompanied by Genesee County Commissioner Drew Shapiro, and several representatives from large national corporations looking to locate economic growth opportunities in mid-Michigan also attended. Marks made the following statement upon returning from the trip:
“It is the job of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs to identify ways that the president’s administration can help local governments thrive and succeed. We gave them a rundown about how most of the rest of the country (and much of the state of Michigan) has recovered from the 2008 economic crisis. Here in Shiawassee County (and Genesee County), however, we have not yet fully recovered from the crisis.
“Unfortunately, as we all know very well, many of the communities in Shiawassee County are bedroom communities, meaning that most people who live here commute at least a moderate distance to get to work. Many of our commuters, prior to 2008, worked in both Flint and Lansing in the many manufacturing facilities in those cities.
“After many of those jobs went away, Shiawassee County was left with many unemployed, and a housing disaster to boot. The jobs just never seemed to return here, and we can no longer rely on cities like Flint and Lansing to provide us with jobs. We want to get the word out that Shiawassee County is open for business. We are as competitive as anywhere when it comes to talent, and we have the space for growth. We have the infrastructure and capabilities to compete for the best jobs available.
“I have always asked myself whenever I hear of another community somewhere getting wonderful job growth, ‘Why not us?’ Well, we are no longer willing to just sit around and hope for jobs to come to us, because they’re not coming. Instead, we are going to go out and get them!”
The two pitched the idea to the president’s administration at the Office of Political Affairs that Shiawassee County can help President Trump fulfill his promise to spark wonderful job growth in our region, and in doing so, help President Trump retain a strong political influence in the region. By assuring the administration that the people of Shiawassee County really want job opportunities more than anything, Marks and Root hope the administration will be more willing to provide guidance and help attaining those opportunities.
The two plan to make a third trip to Washington D.C. in the coming months, with other notable local politicians and stakeholders, but a date has not been definitively set.