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Five years after the start of the Flint water crisis, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer participated in a day of service at Flint’s Hasselbring Park, raking leaves and greeting volunteers for around 30 minutes.
“You can’t remedy a broken trust like this with words. You have to show up and you have to live your values. That’s what we’re doing every single day,” Whitmer told reporters at the event. “It’s going to take time. I did not create the problem in Flint, I fought a lot of the things that contributed to it like the emergency management act, but I know this: I and my administration, and the lieutenant governor, are absolutely focused on earning back the trust of the people in this great city.”
Whitmer was joined at the event by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II and Congressman Dan Kildee (D-Flint Twp.).
Other national and local political figures commemorated the anniversary on Twitter, including multiple presidential candidates:
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Democratic presidential candidate
Five years ago the #FlintWaterCrisis began. Since then, thousands of lives have been destroyed. We must root out institutional racism everywhere it exists, provide the resources Flint needs to recover and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 25, 2019
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Democratic presidential candidate
Five years after one of the worst man-made environmental disasters in our history, Flint still doesn’t have clean water. And we’re still fighting for clean water in places like Newark, Pittsburgh, & Detroit. Who are we if we can’t guarantee this basic right to Americans? https://t.co/sN8h1Gut0A
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) April 21, 2019
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Democratic presidential candidate
Five years. An entire generation of children has lived all or most of their lives without access to clean, safe water. Activists like @LittleMissFlint have been fighting tirelessly for Flint—but we must do better to ensure no community ever faces a crisis like this ever again. https://t.co/UN8eQSRf1X
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) April 25, 2019
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Democratic presidential candidate
Flint still doesn’t have clean water. It’s been 5 years. This is a humanitarian crisis and it’s happening in our country.
— Jay Inslee (@JayInslee) April 25, 2019
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Democratic presidential candidate
The #FlintWaterCrisis began 5 years ago, and we still haven’t fixed the problem. We should not rest until the citizens of Flint can fully trust in the water supply, and the people who failed them have been held to account. We can’t let another year pass, we must finally fix this. https://t.co/Q2cnEdYXVD
— John Hickenlooper (@Hickenlooper) April 25, 2019
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, Democratic presidential candidate
The people of Flint have been without clean water for 5 years. This shameful failure has left thousands of families—disproportionately families of color—without water to drink or bathe in. Support activists like @LittleMissFlint and contribute today https://t.co/BBpBm4rrj5 pic.twitter.com/JPYC81lNSg
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) April 25, 2019
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Democratic presidential candidate
It’s been five years since the Flint water crisis began, and still, not every family has the guarantee of clean water. @LittleMissFlint has been tirelessly keeping up the ongoing fight for justice—you can support her community here: https://t.co/DrklwRp9UB #DontForgetFlint
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) April 25, 2019
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Democratic presidential candidate
It’s been five years and Flint residents still aren’t able to trust they have clean drinking water. America is one of the wealthiest countries on the planet. It’s a disgrace that we can’t guarantee access to clean water for everyone. I will never forget about the people of Flint.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) April 25, 2019
Miramar, Fla. Mayor Wayne Messam, Democratic presidential candidate
The #FlintWaterCrisis has gone on for 5 years. We can have clean water nationwide and cities like Flint deserve to have clean and safe water. As President, I will make rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure a priority. #ChangeCantWait https://t.co/fcYj0RmkYZ
— Wayne Messam (@WayneMessam) April 26, 2019
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.)
5 years after the man-made #FlintWaterCrisis, there is still so much work to be done. I will continue to work w @SenGaryPeters @RepDanKildee @GovWhitmer, city officials & more to ensure federal funds we secured are being used to fix all the pipes. We will never give up on Flint.
— Sen. Debbie Stabenow (@SenStabenow) April 25, 2019
Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.)
It’s been 5 years since reckless decisions caused a crisis that never should have happened in Flint. There’s no sugarcoating it: there will still be challenges for many years, especially for kids and families. pic.twitter.com/FTksuhX8zN
— Senator Gary Peters (@SenGaryPeters) April 25, 2019
Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint Twp.)
What happened to #Flint is not an anomaly.
— Rep. Dan Kildee (@RepDanKildee) April 25, 2019
Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly)
It’s my firm belief that we need to begin talking about these environmental security issues for what they are: homeland security issues – because they’re about the safety and security of our kids.
— Rep. Elissa Slotkin (@RepSlotkin) April 25, 2019
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit)
Flint is where corporate greed killed, harmed people & continues to do so. The lies, deception and immoral leadership shows us what allowing corporations to infiltrate our government looks like. It is where we see the results of putting profit before people. Remember this. https://t.co/68sA5WXMzM
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) April 25, 2019
Updated April 25, 2019 at 6:48 pm with comment from Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.
Updated April 25, 2019 at 7:42 pm with comment from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.
Updated April 25, 2019 at 11:07 pm with comment from Miramar, Fla. Mayor Wayne Messam.