Algonquin Township GOP chairman's comments on MLK Day draw harsh criticism

  • Algonquin Township Republican Party Chairman Glen Swanson

    Algonquin Township Republican Party Chairman Glen Swanson Shaw Media file photo

Updated 1/21/2020 6:03 PM

A post on the Algonquin Township Republican Party's Facebook page from chairman Glen Swanson drew stern criticism Monday, with some calling the comments "despicable."

The now-removed post, which named the Algonquin Township Republican Party as the message sender, said it was "odd" some people celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day and asked what made the civil rights leader more honored than others.


"What about all the emergency workers who gave their lives?" the post asked.

The post also said King's accomplishments should be celebrated alongside others.

"Observe the day, as just another Hallmark Holiday!" Swanson wrote. "Schools should be open!"

"Include all in one day like Memorial Day or Labor Day, when everybody celebrates all accomplishments of people, not just pick and choose," Swanson wrote. "To continue shutting government and select business for each cause means less and less of government doing their jobs."

Former Algonquin Township Trustee Rachael Lawrence called the comments "despicable" and "wholly inappropriate," both in content and context, especially on a day when a revered national icon such as a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is honored.

"Those views do not represent me as a committeeperson of the Algonquin Township Republican Party and the author should resign any leadership role immediately," Lawrence said.

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State Rep. David McSweeney, a Republican from Barrington Hills, said he was proud that President Ronald Reagan signed the bill creating a holiday for Martin Luther King Day Jr. and disagreed with the statement posted on the township GOP website.

"Today we honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and his commitment to liberty and justice," McSweeney tweeted Monday. "Let's always remember the great advances he made for civil rights in the United States."

Swanson told the Northwest Herald Monday that he found it frustrating that government employees and a select few others can take advantage of the day as a holiday but many people in the corporate world still have to work.

"The government shouldn't be shutting down for these causes," Swanson said. "They should be honoring them in ways that make sense."

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