Two days before the Michigan primary, Democratic presidential candidates Senator Bernie Sanders (D–VT) and Hillary Clinton announced today they will be participating in a debate in Flint, Mich. on March 6. Additionally, the two will be visiting the city to observe the current water crisis, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Clinton called for a debate in Flint to bring attention to the city’s water crisis, the Free Press reported. Her husband Former President Bill Clinton highlighted her leadership on the Flint crisis while campaigning in Des Moines. Sanders said in a press release from Jan. 16 he believes Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) should resign from his position.
The crisis in Flint began to garner national attention in October 2015 when Snyder announced the city’s drinking water contained high levels of lead.
Though Flint officials have been seeking to discuss the long-terms effects that will accompany the city’s water crisis, many believe the city’s water containing lead is at the fault of the local government.
In a State of the State address on January 19, Snyder expressed apologies and his concerns regarding the water crisis and what both the state and federal government could do to solve the issue.
“I want to speak directly, honestly, sincerely,” Snyder said at the January address. “The government failed you. I’m sorry most of all that I let you down. You deserve accountability. You deserve to know the truth and I have a responsibility to tell the truth.”
Snyder also announced his plans to release his emails regarding the city’s water crisis, as well plans to request $28 million from the state legislature to provide bottled water and tap filters for those affected, and treatment for those suffering from lead poisoning.
“We need to make sure this never happens again in any Michigan city,” Snyder said at the address. “I give the people (of Flint) my commitment that Michigan will not let you down.”
Officials of UM-Flint have launched initiatives to aid the city, including assuring students that campus water was safe, and installing water filters across campus.
Additionally, multiple groups from UM-Ann Arbor have donated filters and water bottles to citizens of Flint, including the University’s Prevention Research Center and the Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center, who partnered in the Fill-A-Truck for Flint campaign. To raise money that will be donated directly to helping the citizens of Flint, the Black Student Union has also started a GoFundMe campaign.
Central Student Government has discussed the importance of coordinating with different student organizations on campus in attempts to aid both citizens and students affected by the water crisis in the city of Flint.
President Schlissel released an email on Jan, 25 to students applauding the efforts of UM-Flint Chancellor Sue Borrego, who despite the ongoing crisis throughout the city, has helped combat the lead-contaminated drinking water on the Flint campus itself.
According to Freep, presidential candidate Clinton said that something as tragic as the Flint water crisis likely would not have occurred in a more affluent area. The debate in Flint on March 6 will be the first of three additionally scheduled Democratic National Committee sanctioned debates.