Internet Explorer 11 is not supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

The Woman Leading Flint's Recovery From the Water Crisis

Mayor, Flint, Mich.

PS - Flint Mayor Karen Weaver in her office in downtown Flint on Monday, October 10, 2016. Weaver, a native and the first female mayor, has been tasked with bringing the city out of it's ongoing water crisis in addition to tackling a violent crime rate and economic disparity. Today, she remains a controversial figure for residents who feel the city's elected officials are doing too little, although, she herself is relying on bottled water alongside them. “It’s sad that we have to fight so hard for what we deserve in this man-made disaster,” she said. “It’s frustrating to have to remind people that we are taxpayers, we are U.S. citizens, and we deserve clean, affordable drinking water.”
The Washington Post
No mayor in America has a harder job than Karen Weaver. Shortly after she became the first woman elected to lead Flint, in 2015, Weaver declared a state of emergency in the city, which was already consumed by its lead water crisis. “We knew that public health needed to be the focus,” she says, “and we weren’t going to put profit over public health ever again.”

This direction came easily to the mayor, a psychologist who knew firsthand the damages that lead could do to children and other vulnerable populations. She felt “a moral and ethical responsibility to speak up on these things,” and she’s fought to ensure that her community benefits as much as possible from the rebuilding of Flint’s water infrastructure -- that local young people are employed handing out bottled water and local companies get contracts for construction. Weaver says Flint is already ahead of schedule, having deemed safe or replaced more than 16,000 of the 18,000 pipes under review. “I want to make sure we recognize there are so many Flints across this country,” she says. “I hope people are paying attention to what happened in Flint, because we don’t ever want this to happen again.”

Read about the Women in Government program and the rest of the honorees.

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.
Special Projects
Sponsored Stories
In recent years, local governments have been forced to adapt to a wildly changing world, especially as it pertains to sending bills and collecting payments.
Workplace safety is in the spotlight as government leaders adapt to a prolonged pandemic.
While government employees, students and the general public had to wait in line for hours in the beginning of the pandemic, at-home test kits make it easy to diagnose for the novel coronavirus in less than 30 minutes.
Governments around the nation are working to design the best vaccine policies that keep both their employees and their residents safe. Although the latest data shows a variety of polarizing perspectives, there are clear emerging best practices that leading governments are following to put trust first: creating policies that are flexible and provide a range of options, and being in tune with the needs and sentiments of their employees so that they are able to be dynamic and accommodate the rapidly changing situation.
Service delivery and the individual experience within health and human services (HHS) is often very siloed and fragmented.
In this episode, Marianne Steger explains why health care for Pre-Medicare retirees and active employees just got easier.
Government organizations around the world are experiencing the consequences of plagiarism firsthand. A simple mistake can lead to loss of reputation, loss of trust and even lawsuits. It’s important to avoid plagiarism at all costs, and government organizations are held to a particularly high standard. Fortunately, technological solutions such as iThenticate allow government organizations to avoid instances of text plagiarism in an efficient manner.
Creating meaningful citizen experiences in a post-COVID world requires embracing digital initiatives like secure and ethical data sharing, artificial intelligence and more.
GHD identified four themes critical for municipalities to address to reach net-zero by 2050. Will you be ready?