Michigan governor's brief mention of Flint in speech outrages congressman

Placards posted above water fountains warn against drinking the water at Flint Northwestern High School in Flint, Michigan, May 4, 2016.

Story highlights

  • Michigan governor delivers "State of State" address, calls Flint water crisis a "sad chapter"
  • Flint congressman on speech: "Just two minutes dedicated to Flint? Really?"

(CNN)Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder mentioned the Flint water crisis 34 minutes into his "State of the State" address Tuesday. For Rep. Dan Kildee, whose congressional district includes the city, that 34-minute wait was too long.

After Snyder's speech, Kildee, a Democrat, sent out a statement denouncing the Republican governor's lack of attention to Flint during the nearly hour-long speech and while in office.
    "Governor Snyder has failed Flint families," Kildee said in a statement. "It is disgraceful that a city of 100,000 people still doesn't have clean drinking water and the Governor could barely devote two minutes of his State of the State to Flint. Just two minutes dedicated to Flint? Really?"
    Residents of the Rust Belt city have been grappling with the public health crisis for more than two years since the state, in a move to save money, switched the city's water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River.
    The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality failed to treat the corrosive water, which ate into the city's iron and lead pipes, causing lead to leach into the drinking water.
    In his two-minute reference, Snyder called the Flint water crisis "a sad chapter in our state." But he went on to talk about the progress the state has made since the crisis began, citing the 24,000 Flint residents who have received Medicaid waivers, the 600 pipes that have been replaced and the 827 new jobs created because of the crisis.
    Kildee did not appreciate the governor's focus during his speech on progress made.
    "Shame on the Governor for not using tonight to outline additional steps that he is going to take to ensure clean drinking water in Flint," Kildee said the statement. "I will not rest until the Governor and the state step up to do more to help the city recover from this man-made crisis."
      In December, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced felony charges against four officials for their role in the water crisis, bringing the total number of current and former government employees held responsible to 13.
      Among the four charged late last year were two former Flint emergency managers who were appointed by Snyder himself. They are the highest-level officials to be charged so far.