Governor, developers talk infrastructure at annual conference

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Michigan Economic Developers Association (MEDA) is currently holding their annual conference called “We're Going UP!” at the Holiday Inn in Marquette.

The focus of the three-day conference is on Michigan’s infrastructure and how it affects economic growth and development.

"When I say infrastructure I'm not only talking about roads and bridges, but all of the infrastructure it takes to improve the state of Michigan's economy and make it a really good place for people to want to live and stay,” said MEDA Executive Director, John Avery.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer opened the conference with a few words on the role infrastructure plays in the state's economy.

"This is, I think, one of the most critical things that we've got to be focused on if we're going to make this a place where Michigan can beat anyone else in the nation in terms of economic development and growth,” Whitmer said.

She also mentioned key components of her plan to strengthen infrastructure and the economy.

"We've got to shore up our foundation, literally, in terms of our roads and our water infrastructure. We also need to shore up our foundation, figuratively, by closing the skills gap,” she said.

A presentation about the medical and recreational marijuana industry and how it can help the state's economy was also given.

"Some of that money [excise tax] goes directly into funding schools and roads as well. I think additionally, a lot of communities are seeing this as an opportunity to repurpose facilities that haven't been in use,” said Executive Director of the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency, Andrew Brisbo.

Brisbo also answered questions from employers regarding drug testing after the passage of Proposal 1 last year. He said a lot of things remain up in the air regarding the recreational sales of marijuana, since ordinances and rules are still being fine-tuned.

Other presentations were also given by local business owners, such as by Bob Jacquart, whose company manufactures the popular Stormy Kromer headgear right here in the U.P.

For more on MEDA and the conference, click here.

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