Several African-American Christian ministers in Flint have endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. In a statement, Clinton’s campaign said that Rev. Hubert Miller, Rev. Al Harris, and Bishop Rogers L. Jones Sr. endorse her because she has been the only presidential candidate to visit the stricken city since the water crisis became international news.
"Secretary Clinton has certainly aided us in bringing added political attention to our plight in the City of Flint, causing other politicians to move legislation on this subject, and vowing to do everything within her power to assist Flint in recovering from this sinful social experiment we call the Flint Water Crisis,” Rev. Miller said in a statement. He added, that Clinton’s attention to the crisis is “more than that of a politician, it was the voice of a humanitarian.”
In addition, Rev. Jones called Clinton’s visit an “impressive, selfless” gesture.
Earlier this month, Clinton visited Flint and spoke at a church outside of the city limits where she said that the contamination of the city’s drinking water with toxic lead was “immoral.” She said, “ This is not merely unacceptable or wrong, though it is both. What happened in Flint is immoral. The children of Flint are just as precious as the children in any other part of America.”
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The Republican governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, has come under fire from progressives, Democrats, and black politicians for the handling of the crisis. Snyder has apologized for the contamination and said that all levels of government were involved. Clinton told the congregation in Flint, "I want you to understand that this is for me a personal commitment. I will stand with you every step of the way. I will not for one minute forget about you or forget about your children." She added, "I will do everything I can to help you get back up, to get your strength and resilience flowing through this community again because what happened here should never have happened anywhere."
Clinton also injected race into the equation in Flint. Flint is a majority African-American city. In a recent interview with Spero News, Rev. Jesse Jackson called the entire city a "crime scene" and pointed out the alleged disparity of treatment accorded to Flint as opposed to majority-white areas of the state.
Hillary on the Flint water crisis: "Would it have happened if they were rich and white instead of poor and black?" #NHdems2016
The campaign released a video on Feb. 15 in which locals affected by the crisis were featured.
Daughter Chelsea Clinton was in Flint over the Feb. 13-14 weekend. She was seen in the company of Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha – the local pediatrician whose discovery of high levels of lead in local children raised an alarm.
Fellow Democrat Sen. Bernie Sanders called for Gov. Snyder’s resignation, as have a number of progressives and other Democrats. So far, little attention has been focused on local politicians – universally Democrats, such as the former mayor and emergency manager – who may have had a hand in decisions the led to the crisis ever since Flint switched in 2013 from water supplied by Detroit to a source in the Flint River.
Flint and the surrounding area has faithfully returned Democrats to Congress since the mid-1970s, having long been a stronghold of organized labor. General Motors' factories provided an enviable lifestyle for working class people for three generations until most of the factories were shuttered in the 1990s. In was in Flint, in the 1930s, where a successful sit-down strike emboldened the nascent United Auto Workers union and set the groundwork for industrial-labor relations for decades in Flint, Detroit, and other auto towns.