Castro releases lead proposal following trip to Flint

Presidential hopeful Julián Castro, June 8, 2019 | Derek Robertson

After his weekend trip to Flint, former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro has released a plan to “eliminate lead poisoning as a major public health threat.”

Castro’s plan would encourage Congress to appropriate $5 billion per year over a 10-year period for lead mitigation efforts, enact a tax credit to remove lead in homes, and mandate lead testing for any building constructed before 1978, among numerous other measures.

As the Advance reported, Castro on Saturday visited a water distribution site in Flint before holding a town hall at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church on the city’s Northwest side. He fielded questions from residents about health care, education and the aftermath of the Flint water crisis.

Julián Castro 1st of 2020 Dems to visit Flint

“There’s clearly been some progress, but there’s still a lot that needs to be made in terms of water infrastructure. … There’s also very clearly a tragic loss of trust between the community and some of their government officials,” Castro told reporters after the town hall.

“That affects quality of life for people in Flint, because … many people still don’t believe the water is safe to drink, and that’s like a cloud that hangs over the community.”

Flint water plant | Nick Manes

Castro was the first, and so far only, of the Democratic primary candidates to visit Flint. He currently averages less than 1% in the RealClearPolitics national average of polling, but has qualified to appear in this month’s primary debates.

“Lead poisoning is linked to irreversible health problems and developmental challenges that follow a child into adulthood,” the Castro campaign wrote in a statement announcing his lead mitigation plan.

“Every child in every neighborhood should have the gift of their full abilities. Let’s make it happen.”

Derek Robertson
Derek Robertson is a former associate editor of the Advance and is now a freelance writer in Chicago. Previously, he wrote for Politico Magazine in Washington. He is a Genesee County native and graduate of both Wayne State University, where he studied history, and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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