LANSING, MI (WLNS) – It’s been in national headlines since the beginning of January, the state that’s known for it’s purity, has been accused of poisoning people in Flint, and failing to educate it’s kids in Detroit.
As the officials from the federal, state, and local level work to recover, what about recovering it’s reputation?
6 News spoke with a political public relations expert today, to tell us if Michigan can bounce back.
Back in November, when Governor Rick Snyder signed the road funding bills, he said, “We should be proud today. This is a great day in Michigan.”
Just a few months ago, the state of Michigan was on the comeback, the governor signed a new road funding plan, the economy on the rise, and the state being showcased as a great place for people to visit.
But now, there’s a different story being told and it’s taken center stage in the national spotlight.
Earlier this week, CBS Evening News Anchor Scott Pelley, interviewed Governor Snyder.
Scott Pelley: “What went wrong in the Dept. Of Environmental Quality?”
Governor Rick Snyder: “They were too technical.”
President Obama expressed his concerns for Flint families earlier this week.
President Obama: “”The notion that immediately families weren’t notified, things weren’t shut down, that shouldn’t happen anywhere.”
From the Flint water crisis on the cover of Time magazine, to the failed education in the Detroit Public Schools, and the sick-out’s, it’s created a state of chaos.
“I mean everybody is talking about it right now,” John Truscott said. ‘How can you poison people in your state’, but again I think in any crisis like this, while you’re in it, It’s tough to step back and really take a broader view.”
With Michigan’s reputation in turmoil, how would it even begin to make things right?
“The one positive thing is that people tend to have short memories on things like this and we can get passed it,” Truscott said. “But if this is prolonged that image, the longer you go, the more likely the image is to stick.”
While it may seem like an impossible wall to climb now, John Truscott, president of Truscott Rossman says it’s possible.
“I think the quicker they can get this resolved, assuming that they can, then you can start to turn it more positive, but it will take a long time,” he said.
Truscott says while it’s evident that the faith and trust Flint residents had in state government is destroyed, and the governor’s reputation has been harmed, it’s pre-mature to pass judgment or draw conclusions, while emotions are still running high.
“We’ll see long term what kind of impact it has,” he said. “I think it’s very unfortunate because he’s done so many great things for the state, but this will overshadow a lot.”
Truscott said in a crisis like this, those from the outside looking in, tend to be more sympathetic towards Flint and want to help.
It also gets people in surrounding cities to think about the well-being of their own communities.