A city council candidate in Michigan brought a community forum to a stunned standstill by declaring that her small community outside of Detroit should remain white “as much as possible.”
Jean Cramer, one of five candidates vying for three open seats in the November election, responded to a moderator who had asked whether Marysville should be more aggressive in seeking foreign-born residents.
“Keep Marysville a white community as much as possible,” Cramer replied. “White. Seriously. In other words, no foreign-born, no foreign people.”
According to an account of the meeting in The Times Herald in Port Huron, the audience responded with a “brief guffaw,” which was followed by other candidates responding to the question. No one echoed Cramer’s views.
In fact, others at the forum condemned her racist, xenophobic comment.
Incumbent Councilman Paul Wessel, who spoke immediately after Cramer, seemed shocked. “Wow!” he declared before adding that anyone who could afford to live in Marysville should be welcome.
Mayor pro tem Kathy Hayman, another council candidate whose father is Syrian, was rendered speechless by Cramer’s comments. When her turn came to speak during the forum, she said she wasn’t even sure “if I could talk yet. I am so upset and shocked.”
Hayman’s father, the late Joseph Johns, owned a business in the town and was an elected official for decades. The council’s meeting room where the forum was being held was named in his honor.
“So basically, what you’ve said is that my father and his family had no business to be in this community,” Hayman told Cramer.
Mike Deising, also a candidate, tried to make a joke of Cramer’s retrograde opinion, saying: “Just checking the calendar here and making sure it’s still 2019.”