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Flint water crisis, Detroit Public Schools likely to dominate Snyder’s State of the State speech


Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s State of the State address is tonight. He’s expected to discuss his long-term plans to resolve the water crisis in Flint.

Governor Snyder has taken a lot of heat over the state’s role in creating the water problems in Flint and for the response to the crisis.

State appointed emergency managers made the decision to switch Flint’s drinking water source to the Flint River until a new system could be constructed. Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality misled the city on how to properly treat the new water source, leading the corrosion of lead and other heavy metals from pipes and old plumbing in people’s homes.  

Lead levels in children’s blood spiked after Flint switched drinking water sources.

Nancy Kaffer is a columnist with The Detroit Free Press. The editorial board compared Snyder’s handling of the crisis in Flintto the federal government’s botched response to Hurricane Katrina.

“Flint is obviously a story that’s dominating national headlines. He’s got to talk about it. But he’s going to want to talk about the other things he’s doing that haven’t been disastrous,” Kaffer said.

“I’d be surprised if he spends any less than 50% of his speech on this,” Kyle Melinn said. Melinn is the editor of MIRS, Michigan Information & Research Service.

“I would expect he would give a more full accounting of what happened for the people of Michigan; those who are reading maybe piecemeal coverage of things in the media as we’ve kind of gotten drip, drip, drip. Now is an opportunity for him to say the whole story to people and say it in his words,” Melinn said.

Snyder is also expected to spend time discussing his plan for Detroit Public Schools. The state’s largest district is expected to run out of money by the end of this school year.

“That’s another immediate crisis,” Melinn said. “So between the two of them I don’t really know if he can afford to go out with too much more than that, other than recapping maybe some of the other programs that need to be funded.”

You can listen to Snyder’s speech on Michigan Radio at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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