Hillary Clinton is calling on the Democratic Party to bring additional attention to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan by holding a presidential debate in the city.
Clinton campaign chair John Podesta called for a debate in Flint:
The water crisis in Flint is unconscionable. It’s been going on for years, as the people of Flint repeatedly asked for help and were ignored by state government. As Hillary has said, this would not have happened in a wealthy community. It was only when the crisis was finally brought to national attention that real steps were taken to begin to address the immediate issues like access to clean water and health monitoring, and longer term health and infrastructure challenges.
We’ve agreed to an additional debate in NH and are currently in discussions to agree to additional debates – we think one of them should be in Flint. We should use the spotlight of the presidential campaign to keep the focus on Flint, and to lift up the historic underlying issues that Flint and too many other predominantly low-income communities of color across America are struggling with every day. Just as we have engaged in a national conversation about criminal justice reform, we should also discuss the legacy of systemic racial inequalities and underinvestment that contributes to so many of the challenges communities throughout our country are facing. From our schools, courts, prisons, to employment, housing, transit, and yes, even the air we breathe and the water we drink.
We want their voices to be heard in this campaign, and holding a debate in Flint would go a long way toward achieving that goal. These are issues that should be at the top of the agenda of our next president and must therefore be front and center in our debate.
The debate in Flint is a great idea. At a time when the Republican response to the crisis in Flint has been a more polished version of sh*t happens, nothing would help the city shine a spotlight on the ongoing crisis more than a Democratic debate. A debate would draw the national media into the city and put additional attention on how a Republican governor’s policies and decisions poisoned an American city.
Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver responded that they want a debate in Brooklyn, “After refusing for months to participate in more debates, Secretary Clinton requested that the Democratic National Committee rules be changed and that a new debate take place in New Hampshire next week. We agreed pending an agreement on three future debates in March, April and May. Unfortunately, the Clinton campaign has not accepted debates we proposed on March 3 in Michigan and April 14 in New York. They apparently agreed to May 24 in California. The Clinton campaign, after not accepting Michigan, now says they want it. We are pleased to do it on March 3 before the Michigan primary provided the Clinton campaign will agree to Brooklyn, New York, on April 14. Why won’t they debate in Brooklyn? What’s the matter with Brooklyn?”
None of the Democratic campaigns have scheduled any events for around the time that the New Hampshire debate is supposed to take place on February 4. The campaigns are doing a bit of public haggling over the debate schedule, but the odds are that Clinton will get the debate in Flint, and Sanders will get to debate in his hometown and Clinton’s campaign HQ of Brooklyn.
A debate in Flint is quite simply a genius idea that must happen.’