Hackel touts population, economic growth in county

Nicquel Terry
The Detroit News
Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel touted seven consecutive years of job growth in the county.

Clinton Township — Macomb County is strengthening as its population soars, its economy grows and businesses become more innovative, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said, delivering a rousing speech Wednesday on the state of the county.

Hackel delivered his optimistic address, saying the county of 856,000 residents is no longer idle, and is using initiatives to make it more attractive.

“Our quality of life continues to improve,” Hackel said before about 1,200 invited guests at the Macomb Performing Arts Center. “And we are connecting with people in ways we never thought possible.”

Hackel touted Macomb County as a destination for manufacturing and information technology companies, which he said have created thousands of jobs and invested millions of dollars.

“Make Macomb Your Home — four words that evolved into a distinctive brand to promote and celebrate all things Macomb County,” he said, highlighting a county marketing tool that he said more than 1.6 million people “from around the world” have viewed digitally.

Hackel’s speech was accompanied by music, lighting changes and videos broadcasted on a white screen behind him.

He slipped out onto the stage, launching joke about Oakland County traffic and those who may have had trouble getting to the Macomb speech, and then gave a wink and a nod to his Oakland County counterpart, L. Brook Patterson, who was sitting in the audience.

Hackel touted seven consecutive years of job growth in the county, saying the number of people employed has reached its highest in 15 years.

He also boasted about advanced manufacturing companies, saying they have invested $6 billion in Macomb County since 2010, he said.

Fiat-Chrysler, he said, committed $1.4 billion at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant.

“Macomb County has become a preferred destination for transformational economic investment,” Hackel said. “Much of what we have done has drawn statewide and national attention.”

A Democrat, Hackel acknowledged the presidential election, saying the county gained national attention for voters choosing Donald Trump, flipping it from its usual Democratic preference.

“Residents vote for people, more than they vote for parties,” Hackel said, drawing applause.

Hackel also touched on the state of the county’s environment, saying the Green Macomb initiative has expanded parks and recreation initiatives and helped construct non-motorized trails.

“It was a good description about the assets of the county,” said John Nitz, an attorney from Washington Township. “Making the positive come forward and certainly boasting a positive image of the county.”

“I thought it was outstanding,” U.S. Rep. Candice Miller said. “He covered a lot of ground and I obviously was very delighted that he talked about Selfridge and the defense corridor to the extent that he did.”

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