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ANN ARBOR, MI – Hillary Clinton discussed her concern for Flint’s ongoing water crisis on Tuesday, Oct. 24, saying that “what happened in Flint wouldn’t have happened in a more affluent community.”
“We have to keep going, but we also have to remember those who are being left behind. That’s why I talk about Flint and coming to meet with Mayor Weaver and families whose children have been drinking and bathing in poison water,” Clinton said. “Those families still face very difficult circumstances. The lead levels in the water are going down, which is encouraging, but it could still be a year or more before people can drink from their faucets.”
Clinton’s stop in Ann Arbor, housed at the University of Michigan’s Hill Auditorium, came as a part of her book tour to promote her new memoir, What Happened, which she says pulls back the curtain on the 2016 election. Clinton talks about Flint in a six-page section of the book.
“Nothing makes me more furious than seeing kids get taken advantage of or mistreated – or not getting the opportunity, the support, the encouragement, and the security they need to succeed,” Clinton writes. “I’d spent years as First Lady and as a Senator working to reduce the danger to kids from lead paint poisoning, which threatens the health of hundreds of thousands of young children across our country. But I’d never even heard of anything like what was happening in Flint.”
The event was broken into two sections – an opening speech delivered by Clinton, followed by a Q&A led by event moderator Anne Curzan, an English professor at the University of Michigan. Clinton’s remarks about Flint came during the speech portion of the evening.
“There are still problems with the schools, there’s not enough jobs, too many children are not given the health care and nutrition they need. We’ve got to stay focused, both on what we can do to accelerate and make exciting the future but also to try to provide as much help as possible,” said Clinton. “It’s just heartbreaking and outrageous. This is not something that should ever happen in America, period.”
Some of Clinton’s thoughts were expressed both in the book and during the event, including that if a similar situation occurred in a wealthier area the response would have been much quicker.
“It’s hard to deny that what happened in Flint never would have happened in an affluent community like Grosse Pointe. State authorities would have rushed to help, and resources would have poured in,” Clinton says in What Happened. “By the same token, the schools in wealthy Bloomfield Hills are never going to look like the schools in Detroit, where children sit in classrooms infested with rodents and mold, with ceilings caving in and the heat barely functioning.”
Clinton won 82% of Flint’s votes in the 2016 election, with 27,774 ballots cast for her of the 33,833 total ballots cast in the city. Her closest opponent, Donald Trump, received 14% of the vote with 4,685 ballots cast for him, while third party candidates accumulated 4% of the vote at 1,374 ballots cast for them.