Michigan Democrat Claims Blacks and Latinos Don’t Have the ‘Genetics’ to Hold Public Office

Ottawa County, MI seems to always be in the headlines lately. Just last month, Democrat Chris Kleinjans made national news for successfully defeating Republican County Commissioner Lucy Ebel in a May Recall Election. The heavily conservative Board of Commissioners went from 10 Republicans and 1 Democrat to 9 Republicans and 2 Democrats.

This past week, Kleinjans has again made headlines after his employer, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension terminated his employment due to Michigan Conflict of Interest law. MSU Extension is a taxpayer funded organization within every Michigan County, helping develop counties in areas of agriculture, sustainability, economic prosperity, and food nutrition. MSU Extension works under the supervision of the County Government and has its office in the Ottawa County Fillmore Administration Building. While de jure, MSU Extension is a part of the university itself, de facto they operate as Ottawa County employees. MSU Extension argues that it would be a conflict of interest.

MSU says the conflict of interest lies within that Kleinjans cannot represent his interests as a subordinate while staying on the Board. MSU was in contact with Kleinjans about the situation as early as November of last year when he announced his bid for office, and was alerted that he would no longer be eligible for employment after being sworn in, if he were to win.

After his termination in June, Kleinjans leaked audio of the conversation with MSU, in which he offered to resign, yet still citing wrongful termination. The audio can be found here.

Things take a turn roughly 20 minutes in when Kleinjans explains to his employer why it is necessary for him to run. Kleinjans asserts that the other potential candidates, a black man and hispanic man, are subpar to him in the candidate pool because of “genetic and historical” factors.

“Someone has to run, simply because um… Not just someone, I mean we can’t throw Joe…” asserted Kleinjans. “Joe Spaulding and Larry Jackson were the two other candidates. Neither one of those candidates are good. Both have baggage, both have a reputation, by virtue of the fact that by a lot of factors, both genetic and historical, I sit better as a candidate out of that pool of three.”

Kleinjans is referring to Joe Spaulding, a Holland-born Hispanic man who narrowly lost the race to Lucy Ebel in 2022, and Larry Jackson, a black man and military veteran who currently serves as the Chairman of the Ottawa County Democratic Party. Kleinjans seems to indicate that baggage and reputation of being genetically and historically a minority puts them at a disadvantage.

“I’m the one,” stated Kleinjans. “I mean I’m older. I’m white. I’m a guy. My family’s been in this area since 1848.”

While the strangely nativist rhetoric coming from a Democrat may be surprising, it also may be worth noting that Kleinjan’s opponent, Lucy Ebel, was the first Hispanic woman ever elected to the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners.

“I check off so many right-wing boxes, that I shouldn’t be a Democrat, and that’s the whole point.” concluded Kleinjans.

The exact clip can be found here.

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