Snyder set to go to Europe without jugs of Flint water
Lansing — Gov. Rick Snyder is taking his first business trip out of the country since declaring a state of emergency in Flint in early January — and he’s not taking any jugs of Flint water with him.
The Republican governor will depart Saturday for Germany, five days after beginning what he described as a month-long indulgence of Flint water in a bid to encourage public consumption of filtered tap water in the city.
“It isn’t practical for the governor to take gallons of Flint water with him on a trip overseas (and would also be a violation of TSA rules),” Snyder spokeswoman Anna Heaton said in an email Friday to The Detroit News.
“He will be drinking Flint water, though not consecutively, for at least 30 days in a continued effort to assure the residents of Flint that the filtered water is safe to consume.”
On Monday, Snyder responded to calls by Flint residents to drink their water by vowing to do so during the next month.
The governor told reporters that he and his wife, first lady Sue Snyder, would use the water at home and work for drinking and cooking for a month and replenish their supply during frequently during stops in the Genesee County city.
“I’m gonna start drinking it tonight and do that for the next 30 days when I’m at work and at home,” Snyder told reporters on Monday.
After the week-long European trip, Snyder plans to add an extra week in May to his Flint water drinking schedule, spokesman Ari Adler said.
Snyder plans to begin the seven-day trade mission in Germany, where he will lead an effort to strengthen trade relations and attract more jobs, according to the governor’s office.
The governor’s other destinations include Switzerland, Italy and the Netherlands.
“Our efforts to improve Michigan’s business climate have now made our state a desirable location for new investment from companies around the world,” Snyder said Friday in a statement. “These investment missions have opened doors with business leaders in other countries, resulting in good jobs for Michigan residents now and for years to come.”
The European trade mission is just Snyder’s third trip out of Michigan since his Jan. 5 state of emergency declaration in Flint because of high levels of lead in some parts of the city’s water system.
Last month, Snyder traveled to New York City to meet with bond rating agencies, economic development site selectors and speak to a group of journalists. Before that, he spent a day in Washington, D.C., in a congressional hearing room hot seat over the Flint water crisis while testifying before the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Snyder’s itinerary includes visiting Germany for the opening event of the April 25-29 Hannover Messe, the world’s largest industrial technology trade fair. The United States is partnering in the fair for the first time, according to Snyder’s office.
Adler said planning for Snyder to attend the tech trade fair began a year ago — long before Flint’s water crisis emerged.
The governor plans to promote the state’s flourishing auto industry and manufacturing base.
“Hannover Messe is an opportunity to highlight Michigan’s leading position in the U.S. in advanced and high volume manufacturing,” Snyder said. “It’s also an opportunity to promote our Brainpower campaign as one way we are working to ensure Michigan remains the leader for automotive innovation into the future.”
Snyder travels to Switzerland on Tuesday, followed by a trip to Italy, where he will meet auto supply executives.
The trade mission ends Friday in the Netherlands, where the governor is scheduled to meet with Dutch government officials and educators.
Besides some of his key economic officials, Snyder will be accompanied by representatives from the Detroit Regional Chamber and Southwest Michigan First of Kalamazoo.
Lt. Gov. Brian Calley will be acting governor while Snyder is in Europe, Adler said.