Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

"I want Gov. Snyder to solve the problem and basically get up out of office," said longtime Flint resident Tomeko Hornaday. (Photo: AP)

"I want Gov. Snyder to solve the problem and basically get up out of office," said longtime Flint resident Tomeko Hornaday. (Photo: AP)

Despite 'Blood on His Hands,' Snyder Says He's Very, Very Sorry

Ignoring calls to resign, Michigan governor said he will release emails related to water crisis

Lauren McCauley

During Tuesday evening's State of the State address, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder apologized repeatedly for the poisoning of Flint's water and vowed to tell "the truth" behind how the crisis came to be.

But residents say that it's too late for such regrets, and that the best way to ensure this "never happens again" is for Snyder to swiftly resign, as protesters have called for in recent weeks.

"I’m sorry, most of all, that I let you down. You deserve better, you deserve accountability, you deserve the know that the buck stops here with me," Snyder said in his speech.

"I know apologies won’t make up for the mistakes that were made, but I take full responsibility to fix the problem so it never happens again," he added.

The governor's mea culpa comes months after Flint's water problems were first publicized—when researchers discovered heightened levels of lead in local children's blood—and nearly a year after government scientists identified potential problems in the water supply.

"I want Gov. Snyder to solve the problem and basically get up out of office," longtime Flint resident Tomeko Hornaday said after the address. "We shouldn't have to be going through this; we shouldn't have to do this. This is an embarrassment to the city of Flint, first of all, and an embarrassment to our government and to our residents."

That sentiment is shared widely by Flint residents who protested outside the state Capitol Tuesday evening, chanting: "Snyder must go." Earlier this week, demonstrators picketed outside Snyder's Ann Arbor residence.

To underscore his new commitment to transparency, Snyder said he will release his emails on Wednesday related to the crisis and request a $28 million appropriation from the legislature to help aid the city’s residents. His office also released a timeline (pdf) to address questions on who knew what and when.

"You deserve the know the truth, and I have a responsibility to tell the truth—the truth about what we’ve done and the truth about what we’ll do to overcome this challenge," Snyder said Tuesday.

But critics say the problem started back when Snyder and his Republican colleagues slashed the budget for the state's water protection agency and forced the city to switch its water supply to the Flint River.

A new online advertisement being circulated by the Agenda Project Action Fund, charges that those cost-saving measures "have directly caused countless residents in Flint to be poisoned with lead and enabled the spread of a dangerous form of pneumonia known as Legionnaires' disease—the latter of which has already cost the lives of at least 10 people."

"Governor Snyder must resign immediately, there is innocent blood on his hands," said Erik Altieri, president of the public accountability group. "This tragic situation is just another example of Republican priorities and the devastation that occurs when those priorities are implemented."

"We will be taking this message to all corners of the state so that voters know exactly what they are getting when they elect Republican politicians: lead poisoning and a potential death sentence," Altieri said of the new ad, which can be viewed below.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama has ignored calls for him to visit the embattled city during his Wednesday trip to Detroit, during which he will attend the 2016 North American International Auto Show to celebrate the success of the automobile industry bailout that he oversaw during his first year in office.

According to the White House, Obama met with Flint Mayor Karen Weaver early Tuesday and has appointed Nicole Laurie, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to coordinate the federal response to the Flint water crisis.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Unemployment Benefit Cut-Off Will Slash Annual Incomes By $144 Billion: Analysis

"By failing to extend unemployment benefits, Congress and the White House will harm working people struggling in the pandemic."

Jake Johnson ·

Biden-Backed Aukus Deal Could Spell 'Disaster' for Climate Cooperation With China

One U.K. lawmaker said reaching a "positive outcome" at the upcoming talks in Glasgow "just got a whole lot harder."

Jon Queally ·

Exclusive: Jared Kushner's Family Firm Set to Unleash Eviction Wave Amid Pandemic

"Kushner is the poster child for ultra-rich landlords clamoring to boost their bottom line by kicking families to the curb, even if it comes at the expense of public health."

Jake Johnson ·

Patient Group Targets Pair of Democrats for 'Selling Us Out to Drug Companies'

"It makes me so angry that members of Congress are choosing Big Pharma over patients. It's unforgivable."

Jake Johnson ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo