FLINT — Chelsea Clinton made a campaign stop in Flint Friday morning for her mother, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, at Greater Holy Temple Church in Flint.
Following remarks from Clinton, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver and U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D—Flint) at the church, Clinton also visited the United Auto Workers station in Flint, which is currently used as a call center for the Clinton campaign.
In her speech Friday, Weaver said the Clinton campaign has helped Flint respond to the water crisis the city is currently facing, after a temporary switch to Detroit’s water caused lead to leach into Flint’s water.
“We have taken this crisis, and this challenge, and made it into an opportunity for the people here in the city of Flint,” Weaver said. “I remember shortly after the declaration we got a call from Hillary Clinton, and she said: ‘I’m sending some people to see what’s going on.’ And we talked about the water crisis and we talked about the need for Flint to be part of the solution to what’s going on here.”
During the course of the primary and the general election, Flint and the water crisis have been prominent points of discussion, especially for Democrats. This is the third time Chelsea Clinton has visited in the city for her mother, following a February stop when she toured the Flint Water treatment plant and spoke with union workers. Hillary Clinton visited city shortly afterward, speaking at a church in February alongside Flint Mayor Karen Weaver.
Chelsea Clinton also visited Flint in March to announce the creation of the Flint WaterWorks project, which gave jobs to over 100 young Flint residents between the ages of 16-24 to both provide services to the city amidst the crisis and encourage these “opportunity youth” to strive to finish their education or move towards creating professional goals.
Weaver pointed to the program as one way the campaign had aided Flint.
“While we were really thankful to have the national guard distributing water, we knew we had people in the community that needed to be part of the healing process and the rebuilding process,” Weaver said. “So I talked to her and her team about wanting to put young people to work.”
Chelsea Clinton, who was pregnant when she announced the Flint WaterWorks program, said her viewpoint as a mother was one of the reasons she feels so impassioned for aiding the city.
“When I was in Flint in February and March, I was quite pregnant, and now I have a two year old and a three month old,” Clinton said. “I could not imagine the horrifying pain of expectant and new moms worried about the health of their children because the government failed to keep their water safe. That should not be something any mother in the United States of America in the 21st century should ever have to worry about.”
Clinton told reporters after the event that she hopes to see Flint continue to be discussed during the campaign, especially as the first presidential debate grows closer. She noted that though she has not been involved in her mother’s debate preparations, she hopes to hear dialogue regarding the issues of the city.
To the crowd Friday, she said the water crisis and issues like it highlight the importance of this election.
“This is the most important election of my lifetime,” Clinton said. “And we recognize that Flint is about all of us… Flint’s children are our children.”
She added that even if her mother is not elected president, she still intends to work towards healing Flint, but believes Hillary Clinton is the best candidate to address the issues of the city.
During his remarks, Kildee echoed Clinton’s comments, and said GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump doesn’t have the right approach for the city.
“There’s a whole range of policies that we need to pursue that would support communities like Flint and people who live in them,” Kildee said. “It’s no surprise that’s one of the reasons I’m such a serious and devoutful supporter of Secretary Clinton’s campaign, because looking at the America she offers versus a sort of casino-based approach to economics that Donald Trump offers, there’s no question where the American people and particularly the people of Flint will find an ally.”
Trump has also had a presence in the city as well, visiting last week, when he stopped at a Black church and toured a water treatment plant. His visit was met noticeably differently than Clinton’s — though the candidate requested to visit the Flint water treatment plant, Weaver did not grant his request.
During her remarks Friday the mayor said she did not receive any communications from Trump prior to or following the visit.
Flint resident Mildred Artis, a retired guidance counselor who volunteers at the call center, said she agreed with Kildee that Hillary Clinton is the best candidate to address the city’s issues.
“I think this has been just an outpouring of love from the Clintons as they always do,” Artis said. “That’s what I expect from them, and they did.”
Scott Hagerstrom, Michigan State Director for Trump’s campaign, responded to the visit in a statement Friday.
“After Hillary let slip at a Wall Street fundraiser earlier this month that she sees half of this country's voters — including veterans, police officers, firefighters and other hard working Americans — as either 'deplorable' or 'irredeemable,' Michiganders have one question for Chelsea Clinton on her visit here – does she agree with Hillary’s view of them?”