On March 4, during a pro-Trump Spirit Of America Rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, a local racist skinhead snapped a photo of himself standing next to U.S Senatorial candidate and current Berwick city council member Andrew Shecktor.
In the photo Steven Scott Smith, member of the racist skinhead crew Keystone United (KU), holds an anti-immigrant sign reading, “Secure our Borders.” He stands next to Shecktor, who was also a delegate at the 2016 Republican National Convention.
It’s unclear if Shecktor knows Smith politically, and their views on immigration can’t be further apart, according to Shecktor’s campaign website.
Shecktor supports “a plan to integrate undocumented immigrants who have been here and are productive citizens,” whereas Smith, who has been a Luzerne County Republican Committee member since 2012, uses immigration as a wedge issue to reshape the county’s republican party.
And his plan might work, according to Smith. “I’ve won a lot of people over my four years serving as committeeman ... I can still broadcast my pro-white views [and] you find out [that] most of them agree with you,” Smith told a room full of skinheads and white nationalists last April in northeast Pennsylvania. But, “If you’re afraid to be openly pro-white ... just say [you’re] against illegal alien immigration, the illegal alien invasion,” Smith continued.
On a larger scale, Smith, who represents Pittston City’s fourth ward, wants to “take over” the Pennsylvania Republican Party. “I think we can get involved in the Republican Party on the local grassroots level … we can take it bit by bit. We’ll take over this Republican Party in Luzerne county, maybe the whole state of Pennsylvania. We’ll be pro-white republican committee members,” Smith said at a Traditionalist Worker Party (TWP) event, a white nationalist group started by Matthew Heimbach.
Moving one step closer, last April Smith’s good friend and KU member Ryan Wojtowicz joined him on the Luzerne County Republican Committee, representing Nanticoke City’s fourth ward. “2016 has been a great year for nationalists,” Smith wrote in a Facebook post on January 1. “Trump wins the Presidency. The United Kingdom votes to leave the European Union. Ryan Wojtowicz and I win elections to the Luzerne County Republican Committee. Let's keep it rolling in 2017!”
And so they have. According to Wojtowicz, KU members are active throughout the area and “attend a lot of events hosted by the NAACP,” he told Centre County reporter Chloe Cullen during an interview in late February.
While Smith claims he’s merely a “white rights advocate” and not a racist, his and Wojtowicz’s actions tells a different story.
Smith — an active skinhead and neo-Nazi since the 1990s — has belonged to a plethora of white supremacist groups. He co-founded KU (formerly Keystone State Skinheads) in 2001, one of the largest and most active single-state racist skinhead crews in the country. Smith was also a leader of David Duke’s National Association for the Advancement of White People Philadelphia chapter and a state chairman for the American Freedom Party (formerly known as the American Third Position), which “represent[s] the interests of White Americans.”
Most recently Smith co-founded the Pennsylvania-based group the European American Action Coalition (EAAC), an organization “founded in the fall of 2011 by a few well known White activists,” that “advocates on behalf of White Americans,” according to the group’s Facebook account. He also refers to the media as “Zionists” and has a Totenkopf — a symbol formerly used by Nazi soldiers — tattooed on his arm.
Smith has a criminal record dating back to 2003, when he and two other Keystone State Skins (KU’s original name) members were arrested for beating a black man with stones and chunks of pavement. Smith pleaded guilty to terrorist threats and ethnic intimidation and received a 60-day sentence.
As for Wojtowicz, he doesn’t shy away from white nationalism.
Wojtowicz, 27, “first got interested in the racial movement” when he was around 11 or12, he told Cullen in late February, and “hooked up with Keystone United,” when he was in his late teens.
His embrace of racist rhetoric is alarming.
In KU blog posts, Wojtowicz refers to multi-cultural communities as “violent cesspools” and he and several KU members have a long-standing relationship with TWP. According to TWP’s FEC filings, KU received over $800 from TWP in 2016 and co-hosted an event with them in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania last February 2016. With Wojtowicz and Smith trying to propagate ethno-nationalism in local politics, let’s hope Shecktor was unaware of Smith’s ulterior motives when that photo was taken.