Hillary Clinton aides met with Flint mayor over crisis

Chad Livengood
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing — Hillary Clinton dispatched two top campaign aides to Flint on Wednesday to meet with Mayor Karen Weaver about the city’s water contamination crisis.

Clinton’s national political director, Amanda Renteria, and policy adviser Mike Schmidt met with the mayor at City Hall on Wednesday.

The campaign aides’ visit to Flint came after Clinton had issued two statements this week condemning Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration for its role in failing to require Flint to control corrosion that caused toxic lead to leach from aging pipelines into the city’s drinking water supply.

Clinton, a former secretary of state, has called on the federal government to “step up” and launch a “health monitoring and surveillance system” to test Flint residents for lead poisoning, which can cause irreversible brain and developmental damage to children.

In an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Thursday night, Clinton claimed Snyder isn’t asking for federal assistance.

“Right now, as best I can understand, the governor, the Republican governor, Gov. Snyder, is refusing to ask for the triggering of the federal help that he needs in order to take care of the people who are his constituents,” she said, according to an MSNBC transcript. “And I am just outraged by this.”

Snyder this week said he was starting to draft a request for federal aid in Flint’s contaminated water crisis after he last week declared a state of emergency in Flint.

“We have engaged FEMA in this process,” Snyder said about the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “We have not made a specific request for assistance yet.”

Weaver spokeswoman Kristin Moore confirmed Thursday the mayor met with the Clinton campaign staffers.

Renteria said Wednesday on her Twitter page that she toured the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center in Detroit. She did not mention visiting Flint on her Twitter page.

“If we are not providing basic services to kids, what are we doing?” Renteria told Flint TV station WJRT-TV. “(Clinton’s) immediate perspective and immediate response was, ‘How do we make sure we are monitoring these kids, that we are educating folks about what they should be doing now and what should we be doing long-term for the health risks that this will pose going forward.’”

Renteria and Schmidt were sent to Flint while they were in Detroit for the auto show. The station has also reported civil rights activist Jesse Jackson will appear at a local church on Sunday. WJRT indicated Jackson will hold a rally calling for justice over the city’s water issues at the Heavenly Host Church of the Harvest at 1:30 p.m.

Clinton was in Detroit on Tuesday night for a fundraiser at the Marriott hotel in the Renaissance Center that featured a special performance by singer Michael Bolton.

On Monday, the Democratic presidential frontrunner also criticized state officials for allowing Flint River water to continue flowing to city homes after General Motors Co. deemed it too corrosive for engine parts.


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