Before he came to Maine and was vilified for trying to start a white separatist group, Jackman Town Manager Thomas Kawczynski dabbled in politics in at least two other states.
The local town manager has been fired following days of intense controversy over his statements blasting Islam and supporting voluntary racial segregation.
The Jackman Select Board voted unanimously to dismiss Tom Kawczynski Tuesday morning, four days after the Bangor Daily News reported that a group he runs supports white pride and opposes people “from different cultures” coming to northern New England.
Kawczynski’s views on race, culture and religion brought intense scrutiny to this small community near the Canadian border, with local, state and national organizations saying they make him unfit to serve as a town official.
The 37-year-old town manager was hired last summer and moved to Maine from New Hampshire.
Since November, the Arizona native has been been running a website and Facebook page for a group called New Albion, which promotes “traditional Western values emphasizing the positive aspects of our European heritage” in northern New England and Maritime Canada.
Kawczynski told the BDN last week that he wants to preserve this region’s white majority and keep out Muslims, while rejecting the idea that his views amounted to racism or white nationalism.
Posts on the New Albion website previously referred to Islam as “barbarism” and suggested that America would be better off if people of different races “voluntarily separate.” These statements appear to have been removed.
Kawczynski was hired amid the rise of the so-called alt-right and a resurgence around the country of white nationalist movements that have felt buoyed by the election of President Donald Trump. And he came to Jackman at a moment of crisis for the remote, Somerset County community.
Last summer, Jackman, which a population of 862 as of the most recent census and is more than 50 miles from the nearest hospital, was at risk of losing around-the-clock emergency medical care.
As this threat loomed, Kawczynski was hired as manager from among 14 applicants after multiple interviews and a background check, according to a news release from the town.
“The hiring process included the Board as well as six citizens who went to great lengths in reviewing each application,” the release said.