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For Better And For Worse: 2016 Presidential Candidates Respond To Water Crisis In Flint, Michigan

Outrage has reached its fever pitch as Americans learn about the water crisis in Flint, Mich.

After almost a year of residents complaining about colored tap water, a state of emergency has been declared at the state and federal level.

Flint Water Crisis Background

In November, on behalf of the victims affected by the poisoned water, Flint citizens filed a class-action civil lawsuit against the state of Michigan, Gov. Snyder, and the city’s state officials. The lawsuit lead to an investigation by the U.S. attorneys which learned the water supply system was changed from Lake Huron via Detroit’s water system to the Flint River. An independent inquiry requested by Gov. Snyder revealed high levels of lead in Flint’s municipal water supply, ten times of what was previously reported.

As CNN reports:

“The move was announced as a temporary, cost-cutting measure until Flint could get Great Lakes water on its own, according to the class-action lawsuit.”

In response to the outrage, Gov. Snyder released heavily redacted emails. However, officials on Snyder’s team reveal they advised the governor against switching the water supply due to reports of high lead levels. The governor ignored the warning and signed-off on proceeding with the switch.

Democrats and Republicans Respond To Flint’s Water Crisis

“Hillary Clinton is seizing the political moment on Flint,” writes Janell Ross of the Washington Post. During the last primary debate in South Carolina, the candidates were asked to identify one significant issue left untouched. For Clinton, it was the water crisis in Flint:

“I spent a lot of time last week being outraged by what’s happening in Flint, Michigan, and I think every single American should be outraged. We’ve had a city in the United States of America where the population which is poor in many ways and majority African American has been drinking and bathing in lead-contaminated water. And the governor of that state acted as though he didn’t really care.”

On the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday Clinton later stressed:

“We would be outraged if this happened to white kids, and we should be outraged that it’s going on right now to black kids.”

Some might argue Clinton is using identity politics, but the truth is Flint’s population is predominately black and 42 percent of its population lives in poverty. It would seem Clinton is using facts. That said Clinton has dispatched two of her aides to Flint to learn more about the water crisis.

Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders has called for Michigan Gov. Snyder resignation, stating the governor’s apology tour was not enough.

“There are no excuses. The governor long ago knew about the lead in Flint’s water. He did nothing. As a result, hundreds of children were poisoned. Thousands may have been exposed to potential brain damage from lead. Gov. Snyder should resign,” said Bernie Sanders in a statement.

Democratic candidate Martin O’Malley tweeted:

When asked if the governor of Michigan should resign, O’Malley said:

“It would appear that somebody sure as hell should.”

“Lead poisoning is something that has plagued poor communities in cities and people of color, and the notion that … our own government or that a local municipal government would be knowingly trying to cover something like this up is really appalling.”

Continued on next page, the GOP’s reactions…

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Quiana Fulton is a political writer, and she has a bachelor in political science from American Military University. She's not jaded by polarization but absolutely has no time for people who refuse to partake in preserving and strengthening Democracy. She's a staunch liberal that is capable of being friends with conservatives and is always down for a good debate. She's a pro-life Dem (and yes, they exist).

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