A Michigan city council candidate has withdrawn from the race after drawing outrage for saying that she wanted to keep her town a “white community as much as possible.”
According to CNN, Jean Cramer, 67, who was running for city council in Marysville, Michigan, submitted written notification to the city requesting to remove her name from the ballot in November. Despite the request, Cramer’s name cannot be removed as the official withdrawal date, April 26, has long past.
Still, the city’s mayor Dan Damman expressed relief at Cramer’s withdrawal, noting in an emailed statement that “her belief system and ideology have no place in public service; not in Marysville, not anywhere.”
“I had publicly asked her to withdraw the day after she made the initial statement, and public sentiment from our residents was swift and bold as they rejected her ideology,” Damman said in the statement. “It is my sincere hope that she withdrew because she recognized that her belief system and ideology have no place in public service; not in Marysville, not anywhere.”
Cramer made the racist comment at a forum last week while responding to a question about more diversity in the city which is 95% white, CNN notes.
“My suggestion, recommendation: Keep Marysville a white community as much as possible,” Cramer said bluntly as the other candidates reportedly gasped at her words, according to CNN. “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.”
According to the Port Huron Times Herald, Mayor Pro Tem Kathy Hayman took issue with Cramer’s words, as someone with a racially diverse family.
“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,” she said.
Hayman’s father, Joseph Johns, also served for 55 years as an elected official in the city. As a matter of fact, according to the Times Herald, the forum was held in a city council meeting room named after him.
“My son-in-law is a black man and I have bi-racial grandchildren,” she told Cramer at the time, according to the Times Herald. “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. … We just need to have more kindness — that’s it.”
But apparently, Cramer’s divisive commentary did not stop there, and she refused to back down in light of Hayman’s criticism.
“As long as, how can I put this? What Kathy Hayman doesn’t know is that her family is in the wrong,” Cramer 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.”