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Why is this man smiling?

January 31, 2016

Gov. Rick Snyder (seated) shows a $28 million bill to aid Flint that he had just signed in Grand Rapids on Jan. 29. Behind the governor, to his left, is local representative, State Sen. Rick Jones./Courtesy photo

 

It was a happy moment, following a somber speech by Gov. Rick Snyder about the Flint water crisis, made in front of hundreds of journalists and lawmakers at the Amway Grand in Grand Rapids Jan. 29.

 

Also reminding the audience, poised with cameras and pens in hand, about other triumphs and challenges in the state during his leadership, Snyder said “We have a crisis in Flint” where “people were harmed,” and he would be addressing it here "and in the future.”

 

Here, was the photogenic signing of a $28 million aid bill, passed unanimously by lawmakers, who gathered round Snyder on the ballroom stage as he signed the bill, cameras clicking.

 

Behind him stood local Sen. Rick Jones, among the dozens of lawmakers in attendance at what is an annual part of the Michigan Press Association Convention, where Snyder spoke.

 

“We are on the ground in Flint,” Snyder said in his remarks, made without notes as he talked for about 10 minutes before the signing. “The city of Flint has been damaged…we are making a commitment …to make it a better place.”

 

State Sen. Jim Stamas reminded journalists seated with him that the legislators had already given $10 million to the Flint effort. “It’s not about blame” these days, Stamas said, rather, assistance.

Following the signing, Snyder took questions from the audience on a variety of issues, including Flint. 

 

One of the questions addressed the timing, when Flint residents would be able to turn their taps on once again without worry. Snyder said there was no exact timeline.

 

In the meantime, 37,000 homes have been visited by the National Guard for welfare checks, and for distribution of water, filters and other items. 

 

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