White Supremacist? Jackman Town Manager Facing Backlash For Online Comments
The Jackman town manager is facing a backlash on social media and questions from the town's selectmen for what some characterize as his "white supremacist" views. Tom Kawczynski says those views are personal, separate from his job, and do not reflect anything other than "white pride."
As town manager, Kawczynski serves at the pleasure of the Jackman selectmen. He's held the post for the past six months and says his primary interest is to help a small town succeed. His focus, he says, is on lowering taxes and preserving the local health care system.
But in his private life, Kawczynski bills himself as the steward for an organization and new kind of community called "New Albion." The group's online welcome page says it "values emphasizing the positive aspects of our European heritage and uniquely American identity."
"New Albion is not about white supremacy," Kawczynski says. "It's really, as far as that goes, about civil rights. And we are an organization that supports all the people of New England who want to subscribe to western culture and sort of traditional beliefs we have."
Among other things, Kawczynski says, that includes support for nature, families and community. He says several dozen members have joined since last year. "We are a cultural movement," he says, "not a racial movement."
But some of his social media posts are attracting attention for being just the opposite. On the social network Gab, Kawczynski boasts of building a "rapidly strengthening foothold here in western Maine...The ideas sell themselves when people see all our corrupt politicians rushing to glorify s-holes like Haiti on TV," he writes.
On Facebook he criticizes Europeans for "letting Islam run all over them." And he goes on to say, "Laws are useless when our governments seek to import people who believe ideas that run contrary to all our traditions."
"I think that bringing people in from Islamic culture is a mistake," he says. "And the reason I think that is because Sharia law does not accept the separation of church and state, and because of that you can't have the foundation of the individual as sovereign under law."
Reached by telephone Friday afternoon, two members of the Jackman Board of Selectmen said they were unaware of Kawczynksi's viewpoints and his posts until being contacted by a reporter. After reading some of them, Charles Lumbert said they were concerned enough to contact the town's attorney, who advised them not to discuss them publicly.
On Facebook, meanwhile, links to Kawczynski's posts were being shared and criticized as "racist," something Kawczynski rejects. "I do reject the description of me as a white supremacist."
And while some are calling for a response from the town, Kawczynski maintains that he's entitled to his personal opinions and confident that residents of Jackman will not be intimidated.
"I see few things as less American as saying that if you exercise your freedom of speech that you're gonna punish other people for what someone says, or saying that that right should be silenced for anybody," he says.
Calls to the town's attorney were not immediately returned.