Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders: FBI's investigation of wife won’t be a ‘distraction’ Are Democrats trying to pin the blame for their own sins on Russia? GOP vows to use Pelosi against Democrats in 2018 MORE on Thursday voiced outrage over the Flint, Mich., water crisis as he spoke with residents at a local church.
 
Sanders listened closely as community members, many of them visibly distraught, explained their concerns, complaints and calls to action.

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Sanders asked the audience what they believed the city needed. At one point, he pointed out that a General Motors factory had learned of the lead in Flint's water before the city's residents.
One woman in the audience called for a Department of Justice investigation into Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder's ties to Nestle, which she alleged to be profiting from the bottled water demand, a concern echoed by other residents. Another woman listed off a number of brands of bottled water being distributed to residents and noted that they were all owned by Nestle.
 
Snyder's former chief of staff is married to a Nestle official.
 
Sanders asked the audience how they would like to see the government respond to the crisis.
 
One woman said she wanted government officials to be held accountable and have "their feet held to the fire."
 
Another audience member sought to call attention to the city's deep poverty, saying that if the city was more affluent, it would not be facing such crises.
 
"It seems to me in a general sense that this community is impacted by disastrous trade policies," Sanders said, drawing cheers from the crowd. The Vermont senator is an outspoken critic of free trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
 
He also said his proposal to invest in national infrastructure would create more jobs and help prevent similar catastrophes.
 
Sanders then asked the crowd what they thought of the healthcare response to the crisis, emphasizing his own proposals to improve coverage.
 
Some residents took the opportunity to advocate for increased care for children affected by lead poisoning.
 
"This is scary, this is real, we have been poisoned," said a woman who went into detail about the health effects she's witnessed.
 
"I wanted to ask you why our governor hasn't been arrested for poisoning us," a man said, suggesting Snyder should face terrorism charges.
 
"I have called for his resignation," Sanders responded, adding that he does not make such statements lightly.
 
Sanders received a standing ovation from the crowd as the event ended.
 
"Thank you for your courage," he said, praising them for their response to the disaster.
  
Sanders, who trails Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonAre Democrats trying to pin the blame for their own sins on Russia? Trump: Calling Warren Pocahontas ‘an insult to Pocahontas’ GOP vows to use Pelosi against Democrats in 2018 MORE in polls in nearly every southern state, has sought to capitalize on his appeal in the Midwest and Northeast, where he believes he can be competitive.