72ºF

Q&A with Gov. Snyder: I'm here to fix Flint, 'I'm not going anywhere'

Syder back in Michigan after testifying at congresional hearing

DETROIT – Gov. Rick Snyder took time to take questions from reporters Friday morning after speaking at the Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee meeting. 

Who’s in your bracket?
“This is the first year in year’s I didn’t even do a bracket. I’ve been focused in on Flint.”

What is your reaction to the congressional hearings yesterday? 
“I think it’s important that people have a chance to understand the past. I think there are investigations going on, in many different respects. This is part of that process. I wanted to be helpful and cooperate. I believe I did that.

What about the calls for your resignation?
“To put it in simpler perspective, I’m here to solve this problem. So, I’m not going anywhere. I want to make Flint a better place. I’m going to get that done.

At the congressional hearings, you looked frustrated. Were you?
“It was frustrating. But, again, I’m not going to get into the finger pointing game. I want to get back here. That was my comment, “I want to get back to Flint and work on solving this issue.”

Do you think there is money in Congress to help Michigan?
“I made that call in my opening statement. There is a bipartisan bill that I full support that I think would bring important resources to Flint. Particularly important because, if you look at it, we’ve been denied multiple times in terms of requests we’ve made. We’ve gotten some though, in terms of the Medicaid expansion … it’s been a mixed bag though. I think this federal bill would be very helpful.”

While you were in Washington, did you lobby anyone to try to get that money?
“I had discussions before the hearing. I’ve had some phone calls and other discussions in addition to that. I’m adding my full support to that bi partisan bill that’s about $250 million in total. In particular, $150 million in drinking water funds for Flint, in addition to additional credits that could be helpful here.”

People are not seeing much done on the street level. There are people who are starting GoFundMe.com pages to try to raise money to move.
“That is one of the frustrations. I appreciate people being frustrated and angry about it. That’s why we’re trying to communicate well. We had a press release earlier this week about the Sentinel site testing, that we are seeing progress in terms of a higher percentage having low to no lead in it. We’re going to continue that testing … it’s not based on a calendar date, it’s based on making sure the water is safe and having multiple validation points.”

What about the emergency manager law?
“Generally, the emergency manager law has worked. Look at Detroit in particular. I just want to be open, in this particular case, in respect to the water issue, it’s much like my own position: I wish they would have asked more questions, demanded more answers. What I would say at this point is, we don’t have an emergency manager in a city in Michigan. We have Detroit Public Schools, I’ve been working hard to get that eliminated. I’ve been proposing solutions for the last year and I hope we make some progress soon on that topic. We have two other school districts who have an emergency manager, but they’re more actually just in the administrative phase as opposed to actively running the district. So, it’s been successful in terms of going in and getting out. In respect to the water question, again, I’m not trying to be critical, but I can’t imagine anyone who’s part of this that wouldn’t have wished that you would have asked more questions when you look back at this.”

What about changes to the law?
“That’s not on the table right now. I’m focused on solutions in Flint, addressing the Detroit education question in particular, there’s some other important issues. If people want to talk about that in the future, not abolishing the law, but if, you know, there are some improvements that could be made, I’m always open-minded to that.”