During Tuesday evening’s State of the State address, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder apologized repeatedly for the poisoning of Flint’s water and vowed to tell “the truth” behind how the crisis came to be.
But residents say that it’s too late for such regrets, and that the best way to ensure this “never happens again” is for Snyder to swiftly resign, as protesters have called for in recent weeks.
“I’m sorry, most of all, that I let you down. You deserve better, you deserve accountability, you deserve the know that the buck stops here with me,” Snyder said in his speech.
“I know apologies won’t make up for the mistakes that were made, but I take full responsibility to fix the problem so it never happens again,” he added.
The governor’s mea culpa comes months after Flint’s water problems were first publicized—when researchers discovered heightened levels of lead in local children’s blood—and nearly a year after government scientists identified potential problems in the water supply.
“I want Gov. Snyder to solve the problem and basically get up out of office,” longtime Flint resident Tomeko Hornaday said after the address. “We shouldn’t have to be going through this; we shouldn’t have to do this. This is an embarrassment to the city of Flint, first of all, and an embarrassment to our government and to our residents.”
That sentiment is shared widely by Flint residents who protested outside the state Capitol Tuesday evening, chanting: “Snyder must go.” Earlier this week, demonstrators picketed outside Snyder’s Ann Arbor residence.
To underscore his new commitment to transparency, Snyder said he will release his emails on Wednesday related to the crisis and request a $28 million appropriation from the legislature to help aid the city’s residents. His office also released a timeline (pdf) to address questions on who knew what and when.
“You deserve the know the truth, and I have a responsibility to tell the truth—the truth about what we’ve done and the truth about what we’ll do to overcome this challenge,” Snyder said Tuesday.
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