||The topic of this article may not meet Wikipedia's general notability guideline. (March 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
February 1, 1957|
|Alma mater||Wayne County Community College District|
|Known for||Politician, Civil Rights Activist|
|Home town||Detroit, Michigan|
Gregory “Greg” Creswell (born February 1, 1957) is a Libertarian politician from Michigan. In 2017 he will be the first candidate in Michigan history to run in a Libertarian primary election, due to changes in the Libertarian Party of Michigan's ballot status. The August eighth special primary was scheduled because of the resignation of State Representative Brian Banks.
He was spokesperson and a Detroit organizer for the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (MCRI) in 2004,[note 1] when the group first attempted to place their amendment to the Michigan Constitution on the ballot.[note 1] Opponents protested the petition effort and Creswell had verbal altercations with his rival Rev. Horace Sheffield III that year.[note 1] Efforts to get it on the ballot were delayed by a series of court challenges.[note 1] Creswell expanded his efforts in 2006 as an outspoken petitioner and candidate.[note 1]
He made the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative the centerpiece of his 2006 campaign for governor. The measure passed, by a 16% margin, even though it was opposed by Creswell's gubernatorial rivals and a conglomerate of groups called “One United Michigan”. Creswell placed third, with less than 1% of the vote, behind incumbent Governor Jennifer Granholm, the Democratic candidate, and Dick Devos, the Republican candidate, but ahead of Douglas Campbell, the Green Party Candidate, and Bhagwan Dashairya the US Taxpayer Party candidate.
Creswell was born in Detroit in 1957. He was a graduate of Chadsey High School in 1975 and a Wayne County Community College District student. He has been married for over 30 years and is the father of two, and the brother of a police officer.[note 1] He has one granddaughter.
He became involved in the Libertarian Party shortly before Ron Paul was nominated as the Libertarian candidate for President and he became more active in politics when he joined the Jon Coon campaign for US Senate.
Creswell claims to have donated his time, skills and earnings to charities and social causes such as his church and the pro-gun organization, Brass Roots. He was a founding member of, and volunteer for Brass Roots, since 1993. Creswell continued doing volunteer work for the Libertarian Party of Michigan, including work at its headquarters. Creswell was a vocal representative of the petition drive to put the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative on the ballot.
On the eve of the election some analysts thought minor party candidates like Gregory Creswell could have a major effect on the election and that "Votes cast for state's third-party contenders could actually help pick Tuesday's winners."[note 1] The final vote count differed from this expectation with Democrat Jennifer Granholm leading Republican Dick Devos by 534,427 votes.
Creswell was nominated on May 13 at the 2006 Libertarian Party of Michigan convention in Chelsea, Michigan. His campaign raised over $16,000 in donations. which was dwarfed by the Granholm and Devos campaigns, but in excess of that raised by Douglas Campbell, or that raised by Bhagwan Dashairya both of whom qualified for a reporting waivers (only available to campaigns with budgets under $1,000). The Creswell campaign spent over $10,000 on radio advertising. The largest investment was made in advertisements on Detroit AM Radio stations WJR and WXYT. These commercials specifically targeted Devos and Granholm by referring to them as candidates of “the two old parties,” and berating them for supporting state-supported preferences based on race and sex.
Creswell's campaign was shared with his Lieutenant Governor candidate Scotty Boman. Boman was Chair of the Libertarian Party of Michigan at the time. Boman, a college professor, had run for a variety of offices as a Libertarian. He had also been a member of the Wayne State University Student Council, had run for the Detroit City Council, as well as the State Board of Education.
He was spokesperson, volunteer coordinator, and an organizer for the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative since the 2004 when the first attempt was made to place the measure on the ballot. In pre kick-off announcement, he articulated some reasons he was working for the amendment: "I believe it is wrong for the government and politicians to dictate to an employer who they must or must not hire, just as I believe Jim Crow is immoral and just as I believe apartheid in South Africa was immoral," said Creswell, who is African-American. "(People) assume that I should be for racial preferences, especially when it comes to the government," he said. "As a father, I do not want the government to look at our children as a member of a race. I want them to look at them as individuals and for their merits."[note 1]
At the petition kick-off meeting affirmative action advocate Rev. Horace Sheffield III clashed with Creswell after being denied entry to the event.[note 1] Creswell’s rivalry with Sheffield dates back to 2000 when Creswell criticized a protest outside the Detroit Police headquarters, following a couple shootings of suspects by police.[note 1]
In April of that year he served as MCRI spokesperson on a local talk show. When asked why ending racial preferences was important to him he replied "As a citizen and an individual, I resent politicians separating us by color. They did that back down South using Jim Crow laws. Of course they used that for slavery too. And I think its equally offensive and immoral for them to use racial preferences (That's what I call it, "racial preferences") to enroll students in state Universities throughout the state."
While running for Governor, Creswell’s position statements focused on what he called, “racial preferences.” On his campaign’s site he claimed to be the only gubernatorial candidate supporting the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, and he defended the validity of the associated petition effort. His position statements referred to Affirmative Action as “state-sponsored discrimination,” when it set different standards based on a person’s race or gender. He claimed this was the position of the Libertarian Party of Michigan which addresses this topic in its platform.
In a statement to the Detroit Free Press he defended the amendment against what he called "big lie,
"The incessant claim by MCRI opponents that prohibiting race and gender discrimination will end such things as breast and cervical cancer screening, breast-feeding promotion, etc. is "the big lie," a fallacy that they hope, if repeated often enough, will be taken as truth.
MCRI does not apply to any aspect of health care. It is specifically limited to education, employment and contracting. And even within that limitation, one of the provisions explicitly states: "Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as prohibiting bona fide qualifications based on sex that are reasonably necessary to the normal operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting."
After the Amendment was approved by the voters, it faced renewed court challenges, and Creswell continued to come to its defense. In 2011, after a Federal appeals court panel ruled that the law violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, Creswell's reaction was published. He said:
In a free society, politicians should not determine who wins and loses in life. It should be that person based on their merits. I don't want the government being for me because of my skin color or against me.[note 1]
Court challenges reached their conclusion in April of 2014 when the United States Supreme Court ruled on the case of Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigration Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary. In a six to two decision, the prevailing side concluded that the United States Constitution does not preclude states from deciding whether to allow racial preferences through a ballot initiative.
In his position statements, Creswell said his approach to civil liberties was based on the belief that people should be free to engage in any “peaceful and honest” activity. He claimed he would protect civil liberties by supporting equal rights for gay couples, medical marijuana, and “the right to keep and bear arms.” He also claimed there was a link between civil liberties and fiscal responsibility. He also opposed restrictions and taxes on internet transactions.
Creswell rejected “government planning,” and expressed the belief that what he called a “free-market economy” would create jobs, lower costs, and improve the standard of living. He supported changing government policies by letting the single business tax expire (without replacing it), cutting the budget, ending what he called “corporate welfare” and lifting regulations which he claimed were “burdensome,” on small businesses. He also opposed restrictions and taxes on internet transactions.
He claimed that politicians didn’t created jobs but, “…only shifted jobs from the private sector to government employment.” He accuse them of rewarding “mismanagement and irresponsibility” with “taxpayer funded bailouts.”
While opposing mandatory taxes, Creswell supported what he called a “Tax me more fund,” so those who supported higher taxes could pay them. In his 2016 Congressional campaign he told WDET radio that he would repeal the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and rescind all federal fees.
In his position statements, he advocated the removal of taxes on private property, fuel and the internet. He also supported the privatizing licensing. He claimed that many licensing laws were “designed to entrap people.” He argued that people should not have to “…spend more on permits than materials to improve their homes.” He called for an end to what he called the “abuse of fines and forfeitures.”
Gregory Creswell's brother is a police officer. In 2000 Creswell was critical of a protest organized, in part, by Rev. Horace Shefield III. The protest was held outside the Headquarters of the Detroit Police Department following controversial shootings of suspects by police. When the Detroit News asked for his opinion, Creswell commented, "The outrage is inconsistent... Al Sharpton attacks (New York Mayor) Rudy Guliani for his police department but he hasn't come to Detroit to do that because the Rev. Horace Sheffield III works for Archer."[note 1]
During his Gubernatorial campaign Creswell said politicians should stop "wasting money" on what he called “non-violent crime.” In his published statements, he accused politicians of keeping people in prison who were no threat to the public. He argued that it was too expensive to use prisons in this manner when people had what he called “real expenses.” He articulated the belief that prisons existed to protect citizens from what he called, “brutal criminals who would not hesitate to prey on others,” and said it was a “waste” of money and “immoral” to imprison people for what he termed, “unhealthy alternative lifestyles, seeking non-traditional medicine for terminal illness, or trying to relieve the suffering of others.
If elected, he vowed to pardon “people imprisoned for medical marijuana, physician assisted suicide, non-payment of taxes, and substance related charges.” He supported what he called, “penalties that result in restitution to the victims and the taxpayers” for what he referred to as “non-violent property offenses.” He also spoke in favor of diverting more money to arresting those he called “violent offenders,” and “enforcing laws against theft and fraud."
Creswell was quoted by the Detroit News as making both supportive and disparaging comments about Republicans. In 2011 he commented on Republican Presidential hopeful Herman Cain saying,"Herman Cain believes in the individuals and not the government. He believes in earning an income through work and not through handouts."[note 1] But in 2012 he told the Detroit News, "More than 25 years ago I decided not to become a Republican because I discovered them to be wimps, among other things. They haven't changed a bit. That's why for over two decades I have been a Libertarian."[note 1]
|Democratic||Brenda Lawrence (Incumbent)||244,135,342||78.51|
|Democratic||Sander Levin (Incumbent)||136,342||60.39|
|Democratic||Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (inc.)||167,481||74.13|
|Republican||Edward J. Gubics||43,098||19.08|
|Green||George L. Corsetti||9,579||4.24|
|Democratic||Jennifer Granholm (Incumbent)||2,142,513||56.3||+4.9|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gregory Creswell.|
|Party political offices|
|Libertarian nominee for Governor of Michigan
|LEC At-Large Director of the Libertarian Party of Michigan
June 2008 – April 2011
|LEC At-Large Director of the Libertarian Party of Michigan
June 2012 – June 2013