Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio will be the latest GOP candidate to use a speech to the Detroit Economic Club to tout his plans to turn around struggling urban cities.

The first-term Republican senator from Florida “will describe how his pro-growth, pro-innovation policies can transform the economy and change the lives of families by helping them achieve the American Dream. Rubio will hold up Detroit as a symbol of both America's great past and the extraordinary possibilities that await us if we embrace a new generation of leadership,” according to the Economic Club.

The speech is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Thursday at the West Book Cadillac hotel.

The Cuban-American lawmaker also plans a meet-and-greet event at the Livonia Victory Center in Livonia at 6 p.m. on Thursday. Rubio is expected to do fundraising while in town.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush made a speech to the Detroit Economic Club outlining his vision for a “right to rise society” in February, tying it to Detroit’s emergence from a record-setting Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

Bush told members they “are part of a great story — the revival of a city that means so much to all Americans.”

While short on specifics, Bush laid out an optimistic-sounding vision for a country in which “every American and ... every community has a right to pursue happiness. They have a right to rise.

“So I say: Let’s go where our ideas can matter most. Where the failures of liberal government are most obvious. Let's deliver real conservative success" in the cities.”

In April, Ohio Gov. John Kasich delivered a keynote speech to the Detroit Economic Club, toured downtown Detroit buildings owned by Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert and attended a reception with Oakland County Republicans in Bloomfield Hills.

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., also has made Detroit a focus in past two years, including being at the opening of the Michigan GOP’s Detroit office.

During the 2012 presidential campaign, Republican candidate Mitt Romney made a speech to the Detroit Economic Club that was widely criticized because it was held in a mostly empty Ford Field. He also took criticism for saying his wife drives “a couple of Cadillacs.”

Before he became president, then.-Sen. Barack Obama used his 2007 Detroit Economic Club speech to heap criticism on Detroit automakers.

“Here in Detroit, three giants of American industry are hemorrhaging jobs and profits as foreign competitors answer the rising global demand for fuel-efficient cars,” Obama said. “Politicians are afraid to ask the oil and auto industries to do their part, and those industries hire armies of lobbyists to make sure it stays that way.”

Read or Share this story: