Pence set to visit Metro Detroit, talk tax reform

Michael Gerstein

Vice President Mike Pence is coming to Metro Detroit Wednesday and Thursday to talk about tax reform and visit a leading auto supplier.

The former Indiana governor will participate in a Michigan Republican Party dinner in Bloomfield Hills on Wednesday evening. The next day, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will join the vice president as well as business leaders and Michigan families to discuss the need for tax reform, according to the White House.

Pence will conclude the visit by making formal remarks at the American Axle Manufacturing plant in Auburn Hills.

The vice president had shown interest in speaking at this past weekend’s biennial Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference but was ultimately unable to attend because of security and logistical issues, Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser said last week.

“But we’ll get another visit from him,” Weiser said. “He promised me that in return.”

Pence has personal ties to Michigan. The former Indiana governor has a positive working relationship with Gov. Rick Snyder, whose former chief of staff Jarrod Agen works for Pence as deputy chief of staff.

“The nation has taken note of Michigan’s reinvented tax system that has spurred the creation of half a million private-sector jobs, which makes our state the perfect place to have a dialogue on tax reform,” Snyder spokeswoman Anna Heaton said Tuesday.

Snyder has worked on issues with Pence’s office since he has a strained relationship with President Donald Trump, who remembers that the Michigan governor didn’t endorse him either in the 2016 Michigan primary or the general election.

The vice president made a surprise visit to Michigan on July 4 by walking in Grandville's Fourth of July parade with Snyder and Republican Congressman Bill Huizenga of Zeeland.

Trump and Pence made six stops in out-state Michigan — mostly in west Michigan — in the last eight days of the 2016 presidential campaign. Pence appeared with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in a bid to generate excitement among conservative Republican voters who were wary about the New York billionaire. Trump won Michigan by 10,704 votes.

State Republican Party spokeswoman Sarah Anderson declined to say who would attend the GOP dinner in Bloomfield Hills.

Staff Writer Jonathan Oosting contributed