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World Candidate says Michigan city should be kept white ‘as much as possible’

Jean Cramer, a candidate for the Marysville City Council, gives her opening remarks during a candidate forum Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, at Marysville, Mich., City Hall.

Brian Wells/The Associated Press

Five people vying for three seats on the Marysville City Council in Michigan gathered for a candidates’ forum at City Hall on Thursday to discuss issues facing their community.

The moderator, Scott Shigley, asked whether the community should be more aggressive in trying to attract foreign-born residents, The Times Herald reported.

Jean Cramer, a candidate, went first and unabashedly shared her view: “Keep Marysville a white community as much as possible.”

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Amid audible gasps from fellow candidates, Cramer followed up her statement. “Seriously,” she said. “In other words, no foreign-born. No foreign people.”

Her comments not only stunned the other candidates, including one who put her hand to her mouth in shock, but they also gained widespread attention.

Marysville is about 55 miles northeast of Detroit and has a population of 9,706, about 95% of it white, according to census figures.

Kathy Hayman, the city’s mayor pro tempore, said during the forum that she took Cramer’s comments personally, according to footage of the forum from EBW.TV, an online-streaming news station.

“My son-in-law is a black man and I have biracial grandchildren,” Hayman said. “I know there is nothing that I can say that’s going to change your mind. But we all have the same … We just need to have more kindness.”

Mike Delsing, another council candidate, felt the need to check the year.

“Just checking the calendar here and making sure it’s still 2019,” he said. “Yeah, I thought we covered civil rights about 50 years ago.”

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Wayne Pyden, a mayoral candidate, said everyone was welcome in Marysville. “I don’t care if you’re purple, whatever,” Pyden said.

After the forum, Cramer expanded on her views to The Times Herald and said that Hayman’s family was “in the wrong” because it was multiracial.

“Husband and wife need to be the same race,” Cramer told the paper. “Same thing with the kids. 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.”

Cramer told The Times Herald on Friday that she would not have an issue if a black couple moved next door to her. “What is the issue is the biracial marriages, that’s the big problem,” Cramer said. “And there are a lot of people who don’t know it’s in the Bible and so they’re going outside of that.”

Cramer was asked if she understood why her comments could upset her neighbors. “If there is the biracial marriage in the family, yes,” she said.

“Because those people don’t know the other side of it,” Cramer said. “For whatever reason, I’ve heard, they love each other, whatever, but there’s also such a thing as remaining single. People don’t necessarily have to get married, and, if they love somebody, love them single. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

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Cramer said she had no plans to drop out of the race. Attempts to reach her Saturday by phone were unsuccessful.

At least two officials called for Cramer to withdraw from the race.

“I would say that I probably came to the conclusion this morning,” Mayor Dan Damman, who is not seeking reelection, told The Times Herald on Friday. He said that, given Cramer’s “deep-seated viewpoint,” he didn’t believe she was fit to serve as an elected official in Marysville or elsewhere.

Hayman said in a phone interview Saturday that “it’d probably be a good idea” for Cramer to leave the race.

“If those are her personal views and opinion, that’s fine,” Hayman said. “But it’s hard to run a city with that type of belief.”

Despite finding Cramer’s comments “disturbing,” Hayman said, she had no plans to contact her.

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“There’s no room for that type of hate and I’m not going to respond to her with hate, but I certainly don’t share her views,” Hayman said. “We have a lot of good things going on in Marysville and that’s not one of them.”

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