City council candidate says keep Michigan town ‘a white community’

click to enlarge Welcome to Marysville: A city council candidate thinks this Michigan city should be unwelcome to people of color. - MICHIGAN MUNICIPAL LEAGUE, FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS
Michigan Municipal League, Flickr Creative Commons
Welcome to Marysville: A city council candidate thinks this Michigan city should be unwelcome to people of color.

A city council candidate in Michigan told attendees at a forum on Thursday night that she wants to keep her town “a white community as much as possible.”

Jean Cramer, one of five candidates running for Marysville City Council, was responding to a question about whether the St. Clair County town should more aggressively attract foreign-born citizens.

“Keep Marysville a white community,” Cramer said, according to the Times Herald.

Marysville, which is about 55 miles northeast of Detroit, is 95.7 percent white, according to the U.S. Census.

Cramer, whose comment resembled President Donald Trump's slogan, "Keep America Great," doubled down when talking with a Times Herald reporter following the forum — attacking opponent Mayor Pro Tem Kathy Hayman, whose extended family includes a father of Syrian ethnic descent, a Black son-in-law, and biracial grandchildren.

“How can I put this?” Cramer said. “What Kathy Hayman doesn’t know is that her family is in the wrong,” she said. “[A] husband and wife need to be the same race. Same thing with 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.”

Other council candidates, who are vying for three spots on the city council, were aghast.

“I don’t even know that I can talk yet, I’m so upset and shocked,” Hayman said. “My father was a hundred percent Syrian, and they owned the Lynwood Bar. It was a grocery store at that time. So basically, what you’ve said is that my father and his family had no business to be in this community.”

She added, “My son-in-law is a Black man and I have biracial grandchildren. And 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.”

Marysville Mayor Dan Damman called the comments “disturbing and disgusting” in a written statement.

"The racist comments by the City Council candidate at the Marysville city candidate(s) forum were as vile as they were jaw-dropping," he said. "Mrs. Cramer’s disturbing and disgusting ideology is flatly rejected by me, our entire City Council, all of city administration, and our employees. The candidate forum was to be a mechanism to learn about the candidates and their viewpoints, thus empowering our electorate to make an informed decision before voting. The only positive result from this clear expression of overt and unapologetic racism is that this candidate’s views were put on display before our voters go the polls in November."

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
Scroll to read more Metro Detroit News articles
Join the Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join Detroit Metro Times Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.