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Political roundup: AG ignored Flint residents; straight-ticket voting

Aug 19, 2016

The Michigan Information and Research Service (MIRS) reported this week that Flint residents contacted Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office long before he launched an investigation into what became known as the Flint Water Crisis.

Democrats have accused the Republican of ignoring those complaints, and only beginning an investigation after news media coverage became so prominent.

Ken Sikkema and Susan Demas join Stateside for their weekly political roundup to talk about the issue.

(Subscribe to the Stateside podcast on iTunesGoogle Play, or with this RSS link)

They were asked if failing to follow up on the complaints a political decision to protect Republican Governor Rick Snyder and Schuette's own political aspirations? 

"I don't think we have any way of knowing that," said Demas. "The attorney general has said that those complaints didn't actually make it up to him. I tend to think that this follows the unfortunate pattern of the Flint water crisis where people in various government agencies and in the governor's office as well, seem to be very ready to dismiss complaints from people in Flint as 'it's the same old people who complain about everything,' and not taking the health crisis seriously until, frankly, it was too late."

Sikkema says the Attorney General's office wasn't alone in failing to act on water complaints from Flint.

"Nobody in government responded properly to the complaints from the citizens in Flint," said Sikkema. "Like the emergency manager, like the governor's office, I wouldn't be surprised if the attorney general's office, once they got complaints, made some inquires over at the [Department of Environmental Quality], and DEQ responded that everything is copacetic in Flint and the water is safe."

Listen to the full interview above to hear more about the political aftermath of the Flint water crisis, and the recent judicial decision that struck down the ban on straight-ticket voting.

GUESTS:
Ken Sikkema
is a senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants.
Susan Demas is the publisher of Inside Michigan Politics. She tweets @SJDemas