Jean Cramer, a former candidate for the city council in Marysville, Michigan, made national headlines after stating during a candidate forum on August 22 that she wanted the city to remain a “white community as much as possible.”
Local news outlet Port Huron Times Herald reported that Cramer’s statement prompted gasps from the audience and the other candidates. Candidate Mike Deising responded, “Just checking the calendar here and making sure it’s still 2019.”
Cramer later doubled down on her initial remark, further stating that she does not support interracial marriage. Heavy reached out to Cramer via email for additional comment but did not hear back.
Update: Cramer announced on August 26 that she was withdrawing her nomination with a single-sentence letter to City Hall that read, “I am writing this letter to withdraw as a City Council candidate for the Marysville City Council election on Nov. 5, 2019.”
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Jean Cramer Said She Didn’t Want Foreigners Moving to Marysville
During the forum for city council candidates, moderator Scott Shigley asked whether more needed to be done to attract more foreign-born people to Marysville, Michigan. He cited data that showed the community has a population that’s about 95 percent white and asked if city officials needed to be more aggressive in efforts to diversify the city.
You can hear Jean Cramer’s response and the responses from the other candidates in an audio recording published online by radio station WPHM. Cramer surprised the audience by answering, “My suggestion… keep Marysville a white community as much as possible.”
She went on, “Seriously, in other words, no foreign-born, no foreign people because of what, in our past, we’ve experienced it’s better to have, simply American-born. Put it that way and no foreigners. No.”
You can hear the gasps from the audience. Cramer’s fellow candidates are then heard saying that anyone who has the ability to live in Marysville is welcome regardless of skin color and that the community should do more to encourage a more diverse population to move in.
2. Jean Cramer Said She Opposes Interracial Marriage
In the audio recording, you can hear the emotion in the voice of Marysville’s Mayor Pro Tem, Kathy Hayman, when she responded to Jean Cramer’s remark that they should keep the community as white as possible. Hayman said she took Cramer’s comment very personally.
Hayman said, “I don’t even know that I can talk yet, I’m so upset and shocked. 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.” Hayman added that her son-in-law is a black man and that she has biracial grandchildren.
Candidate Mike Deising then stated, “Just checking the calendar here and making sure it’s still 2019. Yeah, I thought we covered civil rights about 50 years ago.” He also trailed off at the end of his answer.
After the forum had concluded, a reporter with the Port Huron Times Herald asked Cramer to clarify her remark. Cramer doubled down by sharing how she felt about Kathy Hayman’s diverse family. “What Kathy Hayman doesn’t know is that her family is in the wrong. (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.”
Cramer added the next day that she had no plans to withdraw from the race despite calls for her to do so following her remarks. As referenced above, she ultimately did drop out of the election on August 26.
3. Cramer Said Foreign-Born People Should ‘Go Back’ & Fix the Issues In Their Native Countries
Jean Cramer spoke with local ABC affiliate WXYX-TV the day after the city council candidate forum. She insisted that she is not racist, telling the TV station that she would not have a problem with black people moving into Marysville. She said it would not bother her as long as they were committed to keeping their properties looking nice.
Cramer was also asked to clarify what she had said about not wanting foreign-born people living in the community. She reportedly said that she didn’t want “pushy” foreigners moving in and that they should “go back” to their native countries and fix issues there.
Cramer added that her own ancestors had come from Germany.
4. Jean Cramer Insists She Is Not Racist
Marysville is a small town of about 10,000 people. It is located about 50 miles northeast of Detroit. According to recent census data, the community is nearly 95 percent white, less than 1 percent black, and less than three percent identify as more than one race.
Cramer told the Port Huron Times Herald in a follow-up interview that she does not think of herself as racist. She said that she doesn’t have anything against black people, but does strongly oppose marriage between people of different races. “As far as I know, as long as we’ve been here, Marysville has been a white community, a white city. If we have seen a black person here and there, whatever, we’re not bothered by it. I’m not bothered by it.”
5. Jean Cramer & Her Husband Bought Their Marysville Home in 2013
Jean Cramer and her husband, George Cramer, have been living in Marysville, Michigan since at least 2013. Online property records in St. Clair County show that the couple bought the house in April of 2013 for $199,000.
The Michigan Secretary of State’s office also suggests that Cramer is a business owner. “Cramer Productions LLC” was registered with the state in 2001 with a mailing address in the city of Rochester. The business does not appear to have an operational website.
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