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Question About Diversity at Town Forum Spurs Racist Answer

City Council candidate Jean Cramer told Mich. crowd: 'Keep Marysville a white community'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2019 11:27 AM CDT
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Jean Cramer, a candidate for the Marysville City Council, gives her opening remarks during a candidate forum on Thursday at City Hall in Marysville, Mich.   (Brian Wells/The Times Herald via AP)

(Newser) – Three City Council seats are up for grabs in Marysville, Mich., and five people are vying for them—though it's unclear how well one contender will do after a racist remark she made at a Thursday night forum. The Times Herald reports the event ran smoothly at first, with a focus on the ways in which the city could improve on development, etc. Then came a question for the candidates on another topic: "Do you believe the diversity of our community needs to be looked at, and if so, should we be more aggressive in attracting foreign-born citizens?" The very first response, from candidate Jean Cramer, left the crowd stunned. "Keep Marysville a white community as much as possible," said Cramer, who the Guardian notes only moved into town within the past decade; the other candidates are longtime residents.

Per CBS News, Cramer added she was against "foreign born" people moving into town. Offering immediate pushback were Cramer's opponents, as well as Mayor Pro Tem Kathy Hayman, who has a Syrian father and biracial grandkids. "I take this very personally ... and I know that there's nothing I can say that's going to change your mind," Hayman said to Cramer, per the Herald. Cramer talked to the paper after the forum, and she wasn't apologetic. "[Hayman's] family is in the wrong," she said. "[A] husband and wife need to be the same race. Same thing with kids. ... But as far as me being against blacks, no I'm not." The city's mayor also responded. "Mrs. Cramer's disturbing and disgusting ideology is flatly rejected by me, our entire City Council, all of city administration, and our employees," Dan Damman said in a statement. (Read more racist remark stories.)

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