This week, legislators, policy makers, and business leaders are gathering for the annual Mackinac Policy Conference.
The conference is sponsored by the Detroit Regional Chamber and this year organizers say they hope the conference will "spur a comprehensive dialogue on innovation, collaboration and the 21st century global market."
John Dingell is a Democrat representing Michigan's 15th Congressional District in the U.S. House.
He wrote an op-ed about the conference. It appeared in the Detroit News today.
In the op-ed, Dingell wrote about his desire for lawmakers to come together in a more bi-partisan way. He told Michigan Radio's Jenn White that there are a number of barriers to the bi-partisanship.
"Excessive partisanship is something which is both a reality and an end in itself to a lot of people who participate," Dingell said. "It's encouraged by media and 10-15 second soundbite and it is encouraged by the fact that politics has become a blood sport. Cheap shots are the way of the day and that we have somewhat forgotten the original intention of the founding fathers that we are to work together in the broader public interest."
He says the people have to understand that this is "our" country.
Dingell quotes his father who used to to say "we cannot look at the other fellow in the boat and say 'pardon me sir, but you're end of the boat is sinking.' We are all in this thing together."
Dingell says the Mackinac Policy Conference is a "remarkable device." He says he hopes politicians, business officials and citizens have a dialogue about what they want and what needs to be done.
Dingell says the economy is still at risk, and people need to understand that cooperation is the key to a healthier economy and a lower unemployment rate.
Dingell believes we the citizens of the United States need to work together rationally and civilly.
"We need to understand that we are the citizens of the greatest nation in the world and that our freedoms are very, very delicate - hard to protect - and they require us all to work together to see to it that the country does do better to protect the oldest and most perfect democratic society that we seen in the history of mankind."