Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told a predominantly black audience in Iowa on Sunday that she viewed lead contamination in water in Flint, Michigan, “not just as an environmental disaster and a health crisis.”
“This is a civil rights issue,” Clinton said at the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Cedar Rapids. “If it had been a rich white suburb where the water was brown and smelly, people would have come immediately to the rescue of those families.”
Clinton, who has worked to whip up enthusiasm for her campaign among black voters, also said she had made the situation a national issue, months after the community became aware of it.
“I started talking about it and pointing it out, and created some additional political pressure,” Clinton said, adding that she had called it “outrageous” that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder had refused to ask President Barack Obama for federal help. “Within two hours, he made that request.”
The thousands of residents of Flint, northwest of Detroit, have been drinking and bathing in lead-contaminated water for more than a year, after the city began using the polluted Flint River as its main water source to save money.