Kristine Phillips, Washington Post, January 21, 2018
That was until this week, when media outlets began publishing stories about Jackman’s town manager, a 37-year-old transplant from Arizona who seemed unequivocal about his views that Islam has no place in the Western world and, as he told the Bangor Daily News, that Americans would be better off if people of different races “voluntarily separate.”
Tom Kawczynski told the Bangor paper that he’s against bringing people from other countries and cultures to the United States. He also said he is not racist and argued that one can be “pro-white” without harboring hate against people of other races. After he moved to Maine a year ago, he started a group called New Albion, which, according to its website, promotes “traditional western values emphasizing the positive aspects of our European heritage and uniquely American identity.”
Kawczynski’s views have since been met with backlash. In a statement posted on Facebook on Saturday, the Jackman-Moose River Region Chamber of Commerce called the town manager’s views “shocking and offensive” and said employees like Kawczynski are not asked about their religion or views on race and politics during job interviews.
Kawczynski declined to be interviewed Sunday, but in posts on his website and on Gab, a social media network that is used by right-wing figures, he defended his views and free-speech rights. He railed against political correctness and the media, which he accused of publishing skewed versions of his views and falsely painting him as a racist and a bigot.
His mistake, he said, was saying that white people should be proud of their heritage — and because of that, “there are those who would destroy me.”
“Never mind the inconvenient fact that I’ve never said a cross word about any minority, and I think ALL people should be proud of their heritage and backgrounds,” he wrote. “That wasn’t fit to print.”
In another post about his comments on the “voluntary separation” of races, Kawczynski argued that modern-day examples of segregation are viewed as acceptable by the political left. One example he cited are historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, institutions that were created at a time of immense segregation in the country, when black students were largely denied admission to traditionally white schools.
In one post on Gab, Kawczynski seems to be already anticipating losing his job as a result of the backlash and said he had set up a GoFundMe page to temporarily support him and his wife. He also told the Portland Press Herald that he has no plans to resign from his job.
Town officials in Jackman, where nearly all residents are white, have yet to make any public statements about Kawczynski, but some have told local media outlets that they have contacted the town’s attorney to figure out the next steps.
Kawczynski doesn’t consider himself a Republican or a Democrat, he told the Portland Press Herald, although he said he voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. In 2015, he was appointed town chair for Trump, then a front runner for the Republican nomination, in Grafton County in New Hampshire.