Southwest Michigan’s 2019 Economy – Will A New Governor and Legal Pot Have Any Impact?

By Doug Cunningham

In 2019 the Benton Harbor based Cornerstone Alliance will continue to work hard to convince companies that southwest Michigan’s economy is worth their investments. Greg Vaughn is the Chief Financial Officer and Vice-President of the Cornerstone Alliance.

“Our job is to try to sell the community to companies, to industries, and promote this community as the best place to live, work and play in. We work very closely with the state. We work very closely with the municipalities. And we just go out and work our butts off trying to attract companies and jobs to this community.”

Vaughn has been with Cornerstone for decades and he’s seen a lot of governors come and go. He says normally a new governor doesn’t have a lot of impact on economic development at Cornerstone’s level. He says the state does a great job continuing helpful policies regardless of who is governor.

Cornerstone’s Rob Cleveland says legal marijuana may not have much of an impact on local economic development in 2019.

“It’s gonna be a good year before we have to deal with it, right? The state has a year to put together the regulations. And so from a recreational marijuana standpoint we’re in the same boat as everybody else. We’re gonna continue to follow the local municipality lead on all of that stuff. Some communities like it, some communities don’t.”

Cornerstone Alliance says southwest Michigan’s location is an advantage for economic development efforts, but lack of a large population is a disadvantage.