Politicians, activist groups react to Snyder's address - WNEM TV 5

Politicians, activist groups react to Snyder's address

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LANSING, MI (WNEM) -

Gov. Rick Snyder began his State of the State address apologizing for failing residents in the midst of a water crisis.

Politicians and activist groups responded to his address, which focused the most attention on Flint's water crisis, but also addressed infrastructure, education and progress in the state.

FLINT WATER CRISIS RESPONSE

Genesee County representatives Sheldon Neeley and Phil Phelps commented on Snyder's address.

"Problems have arisen from the water crisis in Flint, and the latest is that many people could lose their homes due to water shutoff notices being send and evictions taking place due to nonpayment of poisoned water," Phelps said. "The Snyder administration must move quicker to turn things around in Flint.

Neeley, a representative from Flint, also responded to Snyder's steps in the water crisis.

"The administration at the highest levels of state government, the people charged with working for the benefit of all our people, have been lackluster in their response to the entire crisis affecting Flint," Neeley said. "We continue to worry about water, a basic human right, right here in America. This should not be happening."

Bay City Rep. Charles Brunner said Snyder's administration, along with Republican policy, had cut corners to the detriment of Michigan residents.

"Gov. Snyder supported the anti-democracy Emergency Financial Manager legislation to replace elected local governments with unelected and unaccountable functionaries if the elected officials were deemed incompetent," Brunner said. "If it was good for goose, it's good for the Michigander."

National representatives also responded to Snyder's address.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee issued a statement: 

For those who think $28 million will begin to remedy the Flint water crisis, that is a fraction of the money city residents have paid for poisoned water that they cannot drink. Flint deserves an immediate response equal to the gravity of this ongoing public health emergency. A state-appointed emergency financial manager created this problem and the state must step up and do more to help Flint families and children right now.

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters promised to continue focusing on resources from federal agencies. 

"While I was pleased to hear the governor speak directly to the people of Flint, I believe the plan he outlined tonight fell short of what is needed to fully address the extensive needs of Flint residents suffering from lead exposure, especially Flint's children," Peters said.

Rev. Jesse Jackson, who was also at the State of the State address, wanted to show support to citizens calling for immediate action.

"It's a big challenge," Jackson said. "I hope the state is up to that challenge."

GOVERNMENT TRANSPARENCY

Activist groups also responded to Snyder's State of the State. 

Melanie McElroy, executive director of Common Cause Michigan, said Snyder did not go far enough to address government accountability.

"The governor should not be allowed to operate in secret and outside of public scrutiny and that is something he just doesn't get," McElroy said. "People in Flint were poisoned with lead because of the choices Gov. Snyder made and picking and choosing the emails that he wants the public to see is not accountability. Accountability is full disclosure like we have in 48 other states. We will not stop until strong, anti-corruption laws are pass and the Freedom of Information Act is in place on the Governor's Office and Legislature."

Progress Michigan was also concerned by a lack of transparency in the governor's office.

"While it's a good first step for the governor to release these emails, Progress Michigan remains committed to advocating for a complete repeal of the exemption for the governor and legislature in our FOIA laws," said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. "It's nice that now, there spotlight of the national media is shining a light on Snyder's failures that he decides to give lip service to transparency. We will continue to shine a spotlight on the governor to encourage action and not just empty words." 

EDUCATION

Saginaw Rep. Vanessa Guerra said her concerns over Michigan's next generation weren't abated by Snyder's address.

"The intelligence and tenacity rising though the ranks of our schools is unparalleled," Guerra said. "But to keep them in Michigan, we are going to need to truly invest in good-paying jobs created by expanding industries."

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