Flint Mayor Karen Weaver took the Democratic National Convention stage Wednesday night to praise Hillary Clinton, who helped draw national attention to the city’s contaminated water crisis early in her presidential campaign.
As part of a state-led effort to save money, the water supply in Flint, Mich., was switched from Lake Huron to the polluted Flint River in April 2014. It wasn’t long before Flint residents began complaining about the color, taste,and stench of their tap water.
Still, it took more than a year for the Flint water crisis to gain national media attention. By then, the untreated river water had corroded the city’s lead pipes, leaching the poisonous metal into the water supply.
“The problems in Flint are not over,” Weaver said, noting that, more than two years later, “the water is still not safe to drink or cook with from the tap.”
And while the already impoverished city is left dealing with “health impacts that may haunt our children for generations,” the federal funding needed to rebuild the city’s crumbling infrastructure “still sits blocked by the Republican-controlled Congress.”
Weaver, who was elected Flint’s first female mayor in November 2015, first declared her support for Hillary Clinton in January after the presidential hopeful spoke out about the poisoning of Flint’s water supply at a Democratic primary debate in South Carolina.
A video that preceded Weaver’s speech featured footage of Clinton speaking to Flint residents, particularly young mothers who, because of the devastating potential impact of lead poisoning on children, were among the hardest hit by the water crisis.
“Hillary Clinton came to Flint to say lead poisoning, broken infrastructure, and struggling cities are a national problem, not just a Flint problem,” said Weaver, adding that Clinton “made a commitment that, as president, she will work for a lead-free America.”
“That’s why I’m with her,” she said.