Gov. Snyder's State of the State speech focuses on Flint


Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's annual State of the State speech addressed Flint's drinking water crisis Tuesday.

Snyder apologized for the Flint water disaster and promised to release all of his 2014-15 emails regarding the Flint water crisis Wednesday. 

"I am sorry, I will fix it," Snyder said meant for the residents of Flint. "Government failed you. I am sorry I let you down.

"We will not stop working for the city of Flint until every single person has clean water no matter what."

Snyder directed those who wish to help Flint or residents living there to go to the website

Michigan budget officials are recommending $28 million in supplemental funds for programs to aid Flint during the city's water crisis. Snyder said Tuesday that additional funding will be sought at the federal level.

The request was sent Tuesday to the chairs of the Michigan House and Senate Appropriations committees.

Snyder also spoke about the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and about changing the culture there.

"I will dedicate my next three years to helping the people of Flint heal this wound."

Corrosive water from the Flint River caused lead to leach from old pipes into homes after the city switched over from Detroit's water system to save money in 2014. Tests later showed high levels of lead in the blood of some local children.

DEMOCRATIC RESPONSE: Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) issued a statement after the speech.

"Tonight, Gov. Rick Snyder went before Michigan citizens to tell them our state is doing well. Sadly, that’s not entirely true. Our state isn’t doing well when our own citizens are being poisoned by tap water, and when hardworking families are surviving from paycheck to paycheck because we don’t have enough good jobs in our state.

"We are living with the consequences of five years of Republican rule in Michigan: tainted water, stagnant wages and soaring tuitions that price too many young people out of a world-class education. It’s time to demand better. I will always fight for Michigan’s middle-class families, young people, seniors and small-business owners. It’s time that they came first, rather than wealthy corporations and their billionaire CEOs.” 

Flint has returned to Detroit water, but many residents are relying on bottled water.

Bottled water, water filters, treating people with elevated lead levels in their blood and a study assessing the infrastructure that supports Flint's water system are among the things that would be paid with the supplemental funding.

Rick Snyder began his second term as Michigan governor promoting the same achievements that propelled him to victory in 2014: The state was in the midst of an economic comeback, and Detroit had emerged from bankruptcy.

Now the water crisis gripping Flint threatens to overshadow nearly everything else Snyder has achieved, and his annual State of the State address has become perhaps the most important speech of his career.

Snyder has little choice but to devote much of Tuesday night's address to the emergency, which has put Flint families at risk for lead exposure and engulfed his administration with criticism.

He plans to offer more details during his speech to the GOP-led Legislature, including proposals to provide health services to kids with elevated lead levels and to prevent water shutoffs if bills are unpaid.

The White House is appointing a Health and Human Services Department official to lead federal efforts to help the city of Flint, Michigan, deal with its water crisis.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says he anticipates that President Barack Obama will meet with the city's mayor on Tuesday.

Mayor Karen Weaver had already visited with the president's senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett, earlier in the day.

Earnest says state and local officials are responsible for managing the response. He says an assistant secretary at the department, Nicole Lurie, will coordinate federal help.

The crisis began in 2014 when a state-appointed emergency manager switched Flint from Detroit water to Flint River water to save money. Flint returned to the Detroit system after elevated lead levels were discovered in children.

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