I applaud Gov. Rick Snyder for saying those two little words, “I’m sorry,” during his State of the State speech. But for the city of Flint, as others have pointed out, “Thoughts and prayers are no longer enough.” In fact, for thousands of children who may be poisoned from drinking the water, what they need more than prayers and apologies is strong leadership.
Flint, Michigan is Anytown USA. The people of Flint are tragic victims of the bottom line, a search for saving money instead of doing what’s right for the people who live there.
It’s easy to point fingers and blame people. The blame lies in a mentality of always looking for a quick answer to save money, when we should be improving the future for all our children. Michigan cannot continually slash budgets without tragic side effects.
What’s the bottom line in Michigan? Our children. Our families. Senior Citizens. Veterans. All Michiganders.
Gov. Snyder mentioned that we have “a 19th century education system in the 21st Century.” And he’s right. After a “lost decade” of budget cuts for our schools, we have a Dickensian school system because budgets were slashed by the equivalent of the penny-pinching Ebenezer Scrooge. When Gov. Snyder was purchasing new furniture for his office, one Van Buren County school was trying to raise money to replace library chairs that had been used by students for almost half a century.
With some infrastructure left from Depression-era WPA projects, we have become a state known for aged roads, pockmarked with potholes. In fact, Gov. Snyder said Michigan’s infrastructure has been ranked D by the American Society for Civil Engineers. That’s evident in Breedsville, where the bridge collapsed in December. With a population of about 200, Breedsville is a town that may be overlooked by politicians and people who make budget decisions. The reality is that thousands of dollars of blueberries are transported across that bridge every summer between M-43 and some of the largest blueberry farms in Michigan. Where is the help from the state of Michigan for Breedsville?
Our governor said in Michigan, “personal income is increasing.” That may be true, however in some school districts the number of free and reduced lunches served in cafeterias has increased. Although Snyder stated that jobs have increased in Michigan, he pointed out “Not everyone has participated in this comeback.” He added that those people who have not participated need to “join us.” Perhaps they cannot “join” the club of the employed because they don’t have a car, they can’t afford child care, or more importantly, they lack the necessary education or training required for new jobs.
As our governor pointed out, people deserve clean, safe water. We also deserve strong leadership in which people are the bottom line.
Candidate for State Rep. 66th District