Winter Weather ADVISORY in effect for:
County Legislature candidate draws fire over alleged racist remarksPosted: Updated:
A candidate for the County Legislature in Rockland is drawing fire after he made what some say was a controversial and racist remark on a radio show earlier this month.
Candidate Robert Romanowksi is running on the Republican and Serve America Movement lines.
The controversy stems from this statement he said two weeks ago on the radio: "I support a redistricting to keep like communities together.”
Some listeners say Romanowski said "keep white communities together."
Romanowksi said to News 12 he said "like communities," not "white communities."
When News 12 asked him to define “like communities,” he said he meant communities that share geographical borders.
“Keep like communities like Stony Point and Haverstraw together. And put Hillburn with Sloatsburg,” he said.
His explanation may be a little too late. Politicians like Suffern Mayor Ed Markunas tell News 12 they received phone calls after the show from people upset by Romanowski's comments.
Markunas added that it doesn't matter whether Romanowski said "like" or “white" communities - his message is the same.
“Why would you keep like communities together? Why are you putting everyone in a different box?” he asks.
Alden Wolfe, the incumbent Democratic county legislator who Romanowski is running against, tells News 12 he also received calls from people upset by Romanowski'scomments. "Like many, I heard Mr. Romanowski say ‘white’ communities,” said Wolfe. "If he had said ‘like' communities, the statement wouldn't have had any meaning at all without defining the word ‘like.'"
Redistricting is a hot topic before this November's election since whoever is elected to the County Legislature will help decide if and how the district maps are redrawn in 2021.
The regional director of the NAACP also reached out to News 12 to say he listened to the show directly and that he believes Romanowski's remark was racist, with language and a belief system that should be condemned by everyone.