MARYSVILLE, Mich. – Marysville City Council candidate Jean Cramer said she doesn’t have any plans to back out of the race despite coming under fire for racist comments she made at an election forum Thursday night.
Mayor Dan Damman and other local leaders, however, have called for her withdrawal.
“I would say that I probably came to the conclusion this morning,” he said Friday. “After the initial shock of what she said really sank in and (given) the deep-seated viewpoints that she has, I don’t believe that she is fit to serve as an elected official in Marysville or anywhere else.”
Cramer, one of five residents vying for three council seats in November’s election, responded to a question at a city candidates’ forum about attracting foreign-born residents to the community with: “Keep Marysville a white community as much as possible.”
After the forum, she expanded on her beliefs, particularly that people of different races shouldn’t get married.
Jean Cramer is opposed to interracial marriage
During a follow-up interview outside her Marysville home Friday afternoon, Cramer doubled down on her statements. Asked if she understood why that might upset her neighbors, she said: “If there is the biracial marriage in the family, yes.”
“Because those people don’t know the other side of it,” she said. “For whatever reason, I’ve heard, they love each other, whatever, but there’s also such a thing as remaining single. People don’t necessarily have to get married, and, if they love somebody, love them single. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
Cramer, 67, has cited the Bible in backing up her ideology. Despite the widespread condemnation of her views, she said she didn’t believe she was racist.
“As far as I know, as long as we’ve been here, Marysville has been a white community, a white city,” she said. “… If we have seen a black person here and there, whatever, we’re not bothered by it. I’m not bothered by it.”
'I know in my heart she's in the minority'
Kevin Watkins, president of the Port Huron chapter of the NAACP, said he also thought it was appropriate for Cramer to withdrawal from Marysville’s City Council race.
But he added it was important that the initial call came from that city’s own leaders.
Watkins said the local minority community was always aware that racism exists in the area — as in other communities. He said he believed individuals like Cramer are more recently emboldened to come forward, “taking a play out of the Trump playbook."
“The good news is now that we can see you and (hear) how you feel,” he said. “I know in my heart that she’s in the minority.”
Both Watkins and Damman said that the local controversy that has arisen from Cramer’s comments will ultimately spur a more constructive conversation for local residents.
And Damman said he wants to “ensure that everyone is heard.”
“It just tells us that as far as we have come as a society, there is still a very disappointing, close-minded, oppressive viewpoint out there,” the mayor said. “And I think we have to have the conversations that make all areas a better place for people of all races, nationalities and origins.”
Follow Jackie Smith on Twitter @Jackie20Smith.
This article originally appeared on Port Huron Times Herald: Marysville council candidate Jean Cramer makes racist comments again