MARYSVILLE, Mich. — A city council candidate in Michigan shocked a public forum when she said she wants to keep her community white “as much as possible.”
Jean Cramer made the comment Thursday in response to a question about diversity in Marysville, a city in St. Clair County, 55 miles (88 kilometers) northeast of Detroit. The Times Herald in Port Huron said she’s one of five candidates running for three council seats in November.
More than 90% of Marysville’s 9,700-person population is white.
Cramer responded when the moderator asked candidates if Marysville should do more to attract foreign-born residents, who are boosting populations in some Great Lakes states.
“Keep Marysville a white community as much as possible,” she replied. “White. Seriously. In other words, no foreign-born, no foreign people.”
The newspaper later asked Cramer if she wanted to clarify her remarks.
“Husband and wife need to be the same race. Same thing with kids,” she said. “That’s how it’s been from the beginning of, how can I say, when God created the heaven and the earth. He created Adam and Eve at the same time. But as far as me being against blacks, no I’m not.”
Other candidates at the forum were deeply troubled. Mike Deising said: “Just checking the calendar here and making sure it’s still 2019.”
Council member Paul Wessel said anyone who makes it to Marysville should be allowed to live there. The council meeting room is named for the late Joseph Johns, who was Syrian, owned a local business and was an elected official for decades. He was the father of Mayor Pro Tem Kathy Hayman.
“I don’t even know that I can talk yet, I’m so upset and shocked. … So basically, what you’ve said is that my father and his family had no business to be in this community,” Hayman told Cramer.
Mayor Dan Damman said Cramer’s comments were “vile” and “jaw-dropping.”