Governor Whitmer Visits Traverse City to Discuss Water Quality Issues
"The health of our people is inextricably linked to the health of our economy. You can’t have one without the other." - Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
Governor Gretchen Whitmer spent time on the campaign trail in Traverse City Thursday, talking about water quality issues while stumping for a state house candidate.
The governor made the stop in Grand Traverse County to campaign for Democrat Dan O’Neil. And they’re both talking about water quality following last week’s news of PFAS contamination in an East Bay Township neighborhood.
Emily Magner with the League of Conservation Voters was the first to address the crowd of about 25 people outside a private residence on Grand Traverse Bay. “Our water here is who were are, it is part of our way of life in Traverse City. And yet for too long some leaders in Lansing have made clean water in our Great Lakes an afterthought.” Magner says she supports O’Neil. “We need to help give her (the Governor) a legislature that listens to science, data, and health experts.”
The League of Conservation Voters is joining Governor Whitmer is sharing the concern about groundwater contamination. Magner adds, “This latest discovery of toxic PFAS contamination in Traverse City is a wakeup call. These are dangerous toxins that can weaken our immune systems and make it easier to get COVID-19.”
Governor Whitmer also addressed the group. “Grand Traverse County is not immune from it, it’s not unique either. We’ve got serious challenges. I wanted to be here to acknowledge what’s happening and show that state government takes this seriously.”
Mike Goggin says he lives in the area of the recent PFAS contamination and also spoke at the event. “I worked for the Traverse City Water and Sewer Department for about 20 years. I know first-hand how important freshwater is.”
Dan O’Neil also stepped up to the podium and shared the sentiment. “This water sustained families long before any of us arrived here. And if we’re careful and if we’re responsible, it will sustain families for many generations to come.”
Whether it’s PFAS contamination or things like raw sewage spilling into the Grand Traverse Bay, the Governor says Lansing can be helpful in finding a solution to the problem and addressing those needs at the local level. “I also need partners outside of the executive branch, I need legislative partners who are willing to take on polluters and hold them accountable for messes they leave behind.”
O’Neil says the issue is personal for him. “When you grow up in a place like this, it becomes part of you, this water becomes part of who you are. It is this water and this place that either made you come here, or made you stay here. It’s a value that we in this community all share.”