Kildee elected to fourth term in Congress in the 5th District

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News
U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township

Democratic U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee on Tuesday won his fourth term in the U.S. House, defeating Republican Travis Wines in the 5th District, according to unofficial results. 

With all of precincts reporting, Kildee defeated Wines 59.5 percent to 35.9 percent.

The Flint Township incumbent has championed getting more help for Flint since the lead-contamination crisis broke in late 2015. 

Kildee has said he is considering a bid for leadership in the House Democratic Caucus, adding that there should be representation from the Midwest and not just America's coasts. The incumbent hasn't yet specified a particular position.

The caucus will have at least some new leadership in part because fourth-ranking House Democrat Joe Crowley of New York was defeated in his primary for re-election.

Kildee has advocated in recent months for the federal government to act more swiftly in response to drinking water contamination in several communities in Michigan and across the country caused by an emerging class of fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS. 

He has called on the Pentagon to do more to clean up the contamination at current and decommissioned military bases such as the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in his district.

Kildee consistently criticized Gov. Rick Snyder for contributing to the Flint water crisis and not dedicating enough money and resources for the residents of city of nearly 100,000 people to sufficiently recover.

During a March 2016 congressional hearing, Kildee did not join other Democrats in calling for Snyder's resignation.

But he told reporters during a short hearing recess it is hard to believe the governor did not know earlier about the lead and Legionnaires’ disease deaths that several experts attributed to the lead contamination.

Snyder sounded like “either a governor who is loose with the facts or is so disengaged with the operation of state government that he contributed to this problem,” Kildee said at the time.