A gathering of an anti-immigrant group planned for this weekend in Canaan prompted someone to distribute an anonymous postcard calling the meeting a “white supremacist picnic.”

Tom Kawczynski of Maine for Mainers, which describes itself as being “for U.S. citizens who believe our government’s primary and singular responsibility is to our own people.” Photo courtesy of Tom Kawczynski

The label is misleading and has led to confusion, said Tom Kawczynski, an administrator of the Facebook group Maine for Mainers, which describes itself as being “for U.S. citizens who believe our government’s primary and singular responsibility is to our own people.”

Kawczynski, who was fired from his job as Jackman town manager in 2018 for his racist beliefs, said the group is against immigrants and refugees coming to Maine, but disputed the white supremacist label, even though in one post made on the Facebook page this week he said many members are “pro-white.”

The group typically meets about once a month to “protect the culture and way of life Maine has enjoyed for centuries,” he added in an interview.

The postcard, distributed anonymously to residents on the street where the meeting is scheduled Saturday, reads “Casual dress (no robes or hood required),” a reference to the Ku Klux Klan.

Camille Patterson, a member of the group who is hosting the meeting, said she reported the postcard to police and the Postal Service after learning it was sent to her neighbors. She denied the meeting is a “white supremacist picnic” and took issue with the postcard listing her address.

Patterson also said Maine for Mainers is not a white supremacist group, but she does not support taxpayer money being directed to immigrants or asylum seekers.

“I’m not aware of one Caucasian crossing the southern border,” she said. “I’ve never heard of it. If the facts are racist that’s not my problem, it’s just the facts. We didn’t invite them here and didn’t ask to be separated from our money.”

Maine in recent months has seen an influx of asylum seekers from African nations, prompting government officials, including Gov. Janet Mills, to take steps in helping them qualify for state assistance.

Beth Stickney, director of the Maine Business Immigration Coalition, said Thursday that views that immigrants or refugees should not be welcomed or offered financial assistance in Maine are shortsighted and counterproductive in a state facing an aging population and workforce shortage.

“The reality is if businesses don’t have enough workers, that hurts the eighth-generation Mainer,” she said. “The entire state gets hurt if businesses can’t survive or have to relocate outside of Maine. There’s a desperate need for workers from other states or outside the country — whoever we can get.”

In Jackman, Kawczynski came under fire for remarks he made advocating for “white civil rights” and his writing on a website called New Albion defending the people and culture of New England and calling on the races to separate.

The Maine for Mainers group has about 218 members that until Thursday included a state lawmaker and a former lawmaker.

Rep. Shelley Rudnicki, R-Fairfield, said she joined the group not knowing what it was and immediately left after a reporter told her about Kawczynski’s past in Jackman.

“It said Maine for Mainers,” Rudnicki said. “That’s pretty innocuous, I guess. That’s what I thought. To be honest I didn’t even know I joined it. It’s been a crazy couple weeks so I might have just clicked on it.”

Paula Sutton, a former Republican lawmaker from Warren, also said she didn’t know what the group was before joining it. She also left the group Thursday after being questioned about it by a reporter.

“I left the group because it’s hard to say what it stands for,” Sutton said. “I’m not a white supremacist. I didn’t even know I was in it. I get lots of requests (to join pages) and normally it’s a good way to learn things.”

Comments are not available on this story.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.