City council candidate Jean Cramer stunned an election forum on Thursday night after making a comment about hoping to keep her city “a white community as much as possible.” According to a CBS report, Cramer was asked about diversity in Marysville, Michigan, when she said that she didn’t want “foreign-born” people to settle in her community.
Cramer is one of five people running for three city council seats in Marysville in the upcoming November election. In a meeting focused on improving the city, including refurbishing Little League fields and local developments, she was asked by the moderator of the forum, according to the Times Herald, if she believed “the diversity of our community needs to be looked at, and if so, should we be more aggressive in attracting foreign-born citizens?”
In response, Cramer made a statement that shocked the entire room, saying that they should try to “keep Marysville a white community as much as possible.”
The other candidates in the meeting paused and a shocked “guffaw” came out of the room before incumbent councilman Paul Wessel responded to her statement by saying that anyone “should be allowed to live in Marysville.”
“Just checking the calendar here and making sure it’s still 2019,” he added after a pause.
Mayor Pro Tem Kathy Hayman wasn’t so circumspect in her response, saying that she was too shocked and upset to talk.
Hayman explained that her father had come from Syria and owned a bar in the community. The room in which the group was meeting was named after Hayman’s father, who served as an elected official in Marysville for 55 years. Hayman added that her son-in-law was black and her grandchildren were bi-racial.
“I take this very personally what you’ve said, and I know that there’s nothing I can say that’s going to change your mind… We just need to have more kindness — that’s it,” she said.
Later during the forum, Cramer was given the opportunity to amend her statement. In response, she said that a husband and a wife should be of the same race and that Hayman’s family was “wrong” even if they didn’t know it. She wasn’t, she clarified, against black people.
After the forum ended, Mayor Dan Damman called out Cramer’s comments, saying that he and the city council rejected her statement and said that the one positive of the meeting was that voters now know about Cramer’s “unapologetic racism.”