To the Editor:

As if the poisoning and needless suffering of my dear city of Flint was not horrible enough, former Governor Rick Synder is now stating that “neglecting a city is not a crime.” As I rest my head every night I think of the countless children of Flint who needlessly suffered lead poisoning that came out of the same water that I share with them, and knowing the indifference of the criminal actions that came out of the previous gubernatorial administration makes those actions even more appalling.

It doesn’t matter if the governor is a Democrat or Republican or if our governor is from Marquette or Monroe; the governor has a legal and moral obligation to protect ALL residents of Michigan. As a state legislator, it is my responsibility to assist all of the residents in my district – no matter their income, skin color, or political persuasion. I cannot and do not pick and choose which families I will assist and represent.

Former Gov. Snyder’s legal claim that neglecting my city is not a crime would be laughable if his actions weren’t so destructive. Dictators in third-world countries openly state that they are there not to protect the entire nation but to protect their tribe, their ethnic group, and the people of a similar religion or skin color. Former Governor Snyder’s comments remind me of similar dictatorial actions: Flint is a Democratic city that didn’t vote for him; unlike his family and community in Ann Arbor, Flint is poor; and unlike most of his friends and administration employees, Flint is heavily African-American.

I cannot wrap my head around his heartless and hollow belief that he did not have a responsibility to protect the people of Flint. While he was charged with only two misdemeanors, there no question that former Gov. Snyder’s comments, beliefs, and actions are felonious and his legacy is the long term and irreparable harm of Flint residents.

State Rep. Cynthia Neeley