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Detroit — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton visited three east side Detroit black churches Sunday, talking about the water contamination crisis in Flint, the conditions of Detroit Public Schools and other urban issues impacting Michigan cities.

Clinton sought to link the recent discovery of “unsafe and unsanitary” conditions in Detroit schools to the government neglect that allowed Flint’s water to go untreated with corrosion control chemicals that prevent toxic lead from leaching into the water supply.

“It is just unacceptable in our country that precious little children are going to school in classrooms filled with mold and rodents,” Clinton said at Triumph Church on East Grand Boulevard. “I don’t know how any public official can look in the mirror and know that little kids in Detroit are being denied physical and educational quality.”

Ahead of Tuesday’s primary against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton has been railing against state control of Flint and Detroit schools in her appeal to the Democratic Party’s African American voter base that has carried her to victory over Sanders in other states.

Clinton spoke at Sunday church services of Holy Ghost Cathedral Church on East Grand Boulevard, Triumph Church and Russell Street Missionary Baptist Church.

In all three appearances, Clinton continued to advocate for an end to the seven-year reign of state-appointed emergency managers operating Detroit schools, which began under Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm and has continued with Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.

“It is time that the schools of Detroit be returned to the people of Detroit ... to once again make them what they should be,” Clinton said at Holy Ghost Cathedral.

Clinton said she asked the Democratic National Committee to hold Sunday night’s debate in Flint to “shine a bright spotlight on what had been done to those people and especially those children.”

“I wanted to put a moral focus on Flint, a community that has been literally poisoned because of government indifference and neglect,” Clinton said.

In all three appearances, Clinton voiced support for criminal justice policies that give people who are incarcerated “second chance, third chance and fourth chance programs” once they’re released back into society.

To help ex-convicts get employed and steer clear of criminal activity, Clinton proposed prohibiting employers from having a criminal history check box on job applications.

Clinton got a warm welcome by the pastors at all three African American churches.

“This campaign cannot be about insults. It has to be about results,” said the Rev. Solomon Kinloch Jr., pastor at Triumph Church. “We don’t need anybody to step into the White House trying to get on-the-job training. We need somebody who can hit the ground running.”

Clinton and Sanders will face off at 8 p.m. on a debate stage in Flint. CNN is broadcasting the debate live.

clivengood@detroitnews.com

(517) 371-3660

Twitter.com/ChadLivengood

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