Days after candidate's visit, daughter Chelsea Clinton tours Flint water treatment plant

Thursday, February 11, 2016 - 6:49pm

FLINT -- Chelsea Clinton, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s daughter, followed her mother’s path with a visit to Flint on Thursday. While there, she toured the Hurley Children’s Center and the United Association Local 370, the local section of the plumbing and pipefitting union.

Clinton’s trip comes shortly after Clinton’s visit to the city last Sunday, during which she met with community leaders and addressed patrons at House of Prayer Missionary Baptist Church.

Chelsea Clinton has been campaigning for her mother since January. Thursday's visit occurred in advance of the Democratic debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that evening.

While at the hospital, she met with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the doctor whose findings about lead levels forced the state government to address the crisis. On Wednesday she also met with Flint Mayor Karen Weaver in Washington D.C. earlier in the week. 

Chelsea Clinton said her Flint visit was motivated by her interest in understanding what the city’s leaders need as the crisis evolves.

“I really came to Flint today to listen to Mayor Weaver, to Dr. Mona, to the people here, the plumbers and pipe fitters,” she said. “To know what more those of us who are not here can do to support the work that they now know needs to happen. What they need now is different from what they needed a few weeks ago.”

Clinton said the city now has enough bottled water, but needs volunteers for services to help distribute the water to those who are unable to go to pick up sites.

Clinton, who has a 16-month-old daughter and is currently pregnant with her second child, said, as a mother, the plight of Flint is particularly poignant, as she could not imagine seeing her child poisoned by something citizens naturally put their trust in.

“The idea that my child could have been poisoned — that I could have lost my child — I think that should be inconceivable to any mother,” she said. “I hope that you wouldn’t have to be a mother to feel the moral outrage of what has happened.”

Over the past months, multiple state and federal efforts have been undertaken to address the crisis, which began began after the city switched from Detroit city water to using the Flint River as their primary source. Following the switch in April 2014, residents began to notice a change in the water’s quality as well as adverse health affects like hair loss and rotted teeth. 

Most recently, Gov. Rick Snyder (R) recently released his budget proposal, which allocates $195 million for Flint aid.

According to Clinton, Weaver said the proposal is a start to address the crisis, but more needs to be done. She emphasized that the opinions of the leaders in Flint are the ones that need to be listened to.

“She thinks it’s a good beginning but it’s not enough,” Clinton said. “Mayor Weaver, Dr. Mona, their opinions are the ones that matter. The rest of us should be following what those on the front lines say they need.”

Marcus Eubanks, a UA member, said he appreciates Clinton’s efforts to help the citizens of Flint.

“I thinks it's cool,” he said. “It’s even better to have people come out and show their support and show that they can’t scoop this under the rug. To have someone actually going back for us, I think that’s cool.”