Granholm: Snyder should move to Flint

Chad Livengood
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Gov. Rick Snyder should buy a Flint home with water service from a lead pipeline and take up residency in the city until all of Flint’s lead-leaching pipes are replaced, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm said Saturday.

“I think who’s ever going to fix this problem should move to Flint and live in one of those houses so that they can understand the urgency with which the citizens of Flint are operating, that they feel it so deeply because every single day they have to deal with water that has been poisoned,” Granholm said in a telephone interview with The Detroit News.

Granholm, a Democrat who was governor from 2003 to 2011, said she doesn’t think her successor should resign at this point over the Flint water crisis.

Snyder has resisted calls from Democrats to resign. But if Snyder were to leave office before his term ends in January 2019, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley would automatically become governor.

“I think he has the motivation to fix it,” Granholm said of Snyder. “... I don’t know if he resigns that Brian Calley is in a better position to get things done than he is.”

Last week, House Minority Leader Tim Greimel, D-Auburn Hills, became the highest-ranking Democratic politician in Michigan to call for Snyder to resign over the Flint water crisis, citing a lack of “accountability and transparency” by the governor.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders renewed his call for Snyder to step down on Saturday night during a campaign rally at Macomb Community College in Warren. “I think the governor should do the right thing and resign,” Sanders told supporters.

Granholm now lives in California, where she is a law professor at the University of California Berkeley. She said she’s been following the Flint water crisis from afar.

On Sunday, Granholm will be in Flint to do television commentary on the Democratic presidential debate at The Whiting Auditorium.

Granholm was critical of the Snyder administration’s slow pace to take action on removing up to 8,000 lead service lines on private property in Flint.

“I would want to see pedal to the metal, hair on fire action in Flint. And I think (Snyder), right now, can do that,” Granholm told The News. “But if not, then I think somebody should come in who can look at … as the emergency that it is and move heaven and earth to get those pipes replaced.”

The City of Flint began a limited lead pipe removal project last week, while Mayor Karen Weaver continues to lobby Snyder and the Legislature to dedicate $55 million in state tax dollars to replace the pipelines damaged by corrosive Flint River water that caused lead to leach into the water supply.

The Snyder administration has hired Rowe Professional Services to locate Flint’s lead lines and do a preliminary sample replacement of 30 lead service lines. Weaver has complained about the pace of the lead pipe replacement, but Snyder said she approved the plan.

Since Snyder declared a state of emergency in Flint on Jan. 5, Calley has been in Flint on an almost daily basis, coordinating the administration’s community response to the water crisis.

On Friday, Calley said he was doing door-to-door canvassing in Flint as part of an effort to identify homes with lead service lines so that environmental officials can test and monitor the tap water for lead contamination.

“I think it’s great that he’s doing that. I think it’s really important to have that presence there,” Granholm said of Calley’s efforts. “But … the lead pipes have got to be pulled out, no doubt about it.”

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