Vice President Mike Pence speaks at Mackinac Island's Grand Hotel for Republican Leadership Conference

Posted at 10:44 PM, Sep 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-22 15:47:19-04

ST. IGNACE, Mich. (WXYZ) — Mackinac Island is the center of GOP political attention this weekend, playing host to the 33rd Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference.

For the first time in the 64-year history of the meeting a sitting Vice President attended.

Vice President Mike Pence delivered a keynote address for the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference, held every other year since 1955.

With the beautiful backdrop of the Grand hotel, Saturday’s stop marked the 3rd time this year Vice President Pence has visited Michigan.

But he wasn’t the first high profile Republican with ties to the White House to speak at this year’s conference that kicked off Friday.

Former Press Secretary Sarah Sanders provided a keynote address and the Secretary of Education and Michigan native Betsy DeVos attended Saturday as well.

This weekend’s conference does come amid controversy.

In the midst of a budget battle most of the state’s Republican representatives will push pause on negotiations to come to the island.

Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer tweeted picture of the budget deadline with this caption: “We wouldn't let our kids leave for a slumber party without completing their homework. Why are our elected officials leaving without completing their budgets”?

Adding to the drama, controversy over the Vice President’s mode of transportation.

Motorized vehicles have been banned from the island with few exceptions for about a century.

And just ahead of the conference Michigan’s Republican Party officially endorsed President Trump and Vice President Pence for 2020.