Obama to visit Flint to survey water crisis

By Eugene Scott CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Barack Obama will visit Flint, Michigan, next month to take a first-hand look at the water crisis affecting the city, the White House said Wednesday.

The announcement came in a letter the White House posted to Medium. Obama addressed the note to 8-year-old Flint resident Mari Copeny, who asked to meet the President when she visits Washington.

In the letter, Obama said he would meet with her in Flint on Wednesday, May 4, when he tours the city.

Mari, known as "Little Miss Flint," told the President about her efforts to bring attention to the city's water crisis and she asked if she could meet Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama during an upcoming trip to Washington, D.C.

"I will be riding a bus to Washington, D.C. to watch the congressional hearings of our Governor Rick Snyder. I know this is probably an odd request but I would love for a chance to meet you or your wife," Mari wrote. "My mom said chances are you will be too busy with more important things, but there is a lot of people coming on these buses and even just a meeting from you or your wife would really lift people's spirits."

Obama wrote the girl back to let her know he will meet with her when he comes to Flint for an in-person briefing on federal efforts responding Flint residents.

"You're right, Presidents are often busy, but the truth is, in America, there is no more important title than citizen," Obama said.

"Letters from kids like you are what make me so optimistic for the future. I hope to meet you next week, 'Little Miss Flint,'" he added.

While there, Obama will also speak with members of the Flint community.

Michigan decided to save money two years ago by switching Flint's water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River, a tributary that runs through the city known for its filth.

But because the water wasn't properly treated, lead from aging service lines to homes began leaching into the Flint water supply.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated Mari Copeny's age.

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