Dear Governor Pence: Please Don't Leave Indiana With This Toxic Crisis On Your Resume

Your home state still needs your attention and help.
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Dear Governor Pence:

Congratulations on your election victory. I sincerely pray that the perseverance you showcased during your campaign will aid President-Elect Trump’s administration to lead our nation and overcome division during your tenure as vice president. Understandably, you have been busy for the past six weeks as chair of the presidential transition team, which has required the majority of your time to be spent in Washington, D.C. and New York City. But respectfully, your home state still needs your attention and help.

In early December, I took a small film crew to Northwest Indiana to document the lead crisis happening in the city of East Chicago. I humbly ask that you watch what we captured.

It is heartbreaking to see how this low-income community has been poisoned for decades, unknowingly living on top of a federally designated toxic clean-up site. Contaminated by former factories, their soil contains lead and arsenic levels that have been measured as high as 228 times the Environmental Protection Agency’s allowable limit. In addition, the EPA has also just discovered elevated levels of lead in the drinking water, triggering alarms similar to those in Flint, Michigan. Regardless if the evidence represents benign neglect or malicious intent, this situation has been allowed to happen and persist without any sort of reasonable accountability.

I appreciate that you are a man of faith who values the sanctity of human life. Please consider a holistic, comprehensive view on that subject and act accordingly. I am asking you to empathize with a forgotten group of people who just want safety for themselves and their families. They did not ask for nor do they deserve this nightmare.

I recently watched a video from your cabinet meeting at the Indiana State House on November 14, where you said, “I want to assure the Governor-Elect [Eric Holcomb] and every Hoosier that we’re going to finish strong. We’re going to roll our sleeves up and finish this job.” You pledged, “to serve Hoosiers until the very last hour of this [Pence] administration.” There is still time on the clock!

On December 1, East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland sent you a letter petitioning you to declare this area a disaster. Please make time to visit East Chicago and see the devastation with your own eyes. Meet with residents and listen to their traumatic stories. Make your final act as the Governor of Indiana shine by turning a spotlight on this community to ensure that they are properly cared for. This would speak volumes about your priorities as a leader.

Thank you for your consideration in this most urgent matter. I look forward to your decision.

God bless,

Matthew Perkins


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