Flint Water Crisis Will Have Political Effects

Posted: 10:59 AM, Jan 16, 2016
Updated: 2016-01-16 11:00:50-05

There is likely going to be a political fallout from the water crisis in Flint, but only time will tell just how much it takes over the legislative agenda.

"All hands have to be on deck with Flint," said Susan Demas of Inside Michigan Politics. 

Everyone who drank the contaminated water in Flint could be at risk, a crisis the state is just starting to fix. Many are waiting on Governor Rick Snyder to take the lead, which is why Demas says next week's State of the State address will be critical.

"I think the governor has to give a heartfelt and detailed apology," Demas explained.

She thinks the Governor first needs to regain trust because of months of inaction on a problem dating back more than a year. 

"When you have a crisis of this magnitude you need to have compassion, you need to understand the human cost of some of these decisions," Demas said. "I think we need to see that side of Governor Snyder."

Attorney General Bill Schuette is investigating to see if any state laws were broken in switching Flint's water from Detroit's water supply to the Flint River. Demas says if that reports find any mis-steps by the governor that could have a crippling effect on his political image. 

While that is happening, Demas expects other issues lawmakers were trying to tackle will likely be put on the back-burner.

"Education reform, with energy policy, with parole reform, I think those are the things that will be shifted to at least the latter part of the year, probably after the election," Demas added. 

She's also predicting program cuts to, since the problem in Flint will cost the state's budget. 

All issues Demas says the governor should address next week.

"He has to acknowledge the stakes and he has to put forth a clear plan on how he can solve this and how he can restore trust," Demas said. 

Even though it's going to take much more than an apology to begin to fix this crisis.