Lansing Promise board member faces heat over racist comment

City Council president demands Tarver resign from Lansing Promise

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FRIDAY, Dec. 4 — A board member for the Lansing Promise scholarship program is facing criticism after falsely claiming that Black communities are more susceptible to election fraud.

Linda Lee Tarver, former vice chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party and member of the Lansing Promise Zone Authority Board, offered a series of offensive remarks to the Michigan State Oversight Committee on Tuesday. Among the suggestions: Black people are fraudsters.

Tarver has largely echoed President Donald Trump and his legal team, this week claiming that ballot fraud is rampant. She also noted that “the larger the jurisdiction which are people of color, people who look like me, the more fraud that can be inserted into stealing an election.”

That last statement drew immediate criticism on social media. Fellow Lansing Promise board member and Lansing City Council President Peter Spadafore also called for her resignation.

“Her remarks don’t reflect our values as an organization,” Spadafore added. “Stating that communities of color are more prone to election fraud was offensive. And on a board that’s designed to lift up a district like Lansing, that’s contrary to the mission we have in this city.”

The Lansing Promise is a scholarship program that offers tuition assistance for post-secondary education to all eligible high school graduates within the Lansing School District boundaries. The Promise provides tuition assistance for hundreds of students annually — up to 65 credits at Lansing Community College or the equivalent at Michigan State University or Olivet College. 

Legislation was passed in 2009 that created ten Michigan Promise Zone Authorities, including Lansing. Those zones were selected based on the percentage of children living below the federal poverty level. The goal: Provide college or skilled trade classes at a reduced cost.

Tarver — who also recently gave a speech at a Trump rally at the Capitol Region International Airport — couldn’t immediately be reached this morning to respond to the recent criticism. Her allegations remain unfounded. 

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