State budget issues likely to be focus of chamber forum

Michigan’s key budget issues are likely to be center stage when state Sens. Patrick Colbeck (R-7th District) and Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D-8th District) share the podium at the next Southern Wayne County Regional Chamber Legislative Forum, set for May 16 at Crystal Gardens in Southgate.

Both are first-term members of the Senate. Colbeck succeeds former Sen. Bruce Patterson and Hopgood now occupies the seat formerly held by Raymond Basham.

Colbeck has more than 20 years of engineering and management experience spanning a wide variety of industries, including automotive, healthcare, aerospace, defense, manufacturing, semiconductors, information technology, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications. Since starting his own business in 2004, he has been certified by Microsoft as a small business specialist and authored and published the book, Information Technology Roadmap for Professional Service Firms.

Hopgood, a former state representative, is the only Korean-American in the state Legislature and the first to serve in the state Senate.

His experience also includes serving as a legislative aide to Basham, working as labor coordinator for the Michigan AFL-CIO and serving as a Michigan House policy analyst.

The senators each will speak briefly about current issues and then participate in a joint question-and-answer session for the chamber members and guests in attendance.

Cost to attend the SWCRC forum is $15 a person. Registration opens at 11 a.m. and lunch follows at 11:30 a.m. The program will begin at noon and conclude by 1 p.m.

Advance registration is requested by calling the chamber office at (734) 284-6000.

Businesses and individuals interested in being a sponsor for the upcoming forum or future chamber forums can contact forum coordinator Mary Jarosz at (734) 479-0156 to obtain the details. Sponsors receive promotional benefits and also are able to participate in a pre-forum reception with the guest speaker.

Local high school students also are invited to attend the Legislative Forum. To sponsor a high school students’ table call the chamber at (734) 284-6000.

Crystal Gardens is at 16703 Fort St., just north of Pennsylvania Road. Additional information on chamber membership and the group’s other activities can be obtained at