Assemblyman Mark Walczyk draws criticism after state budget tweet

Updated: Apr. 1, 2021 at 12:00 PM EDT
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ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - A tweet from Assemblyman Mark Walczyk is drawing criticism after he made a reference to the late state budget, and insinuated the New York Assembly was high.

He added that his words could be sang to the Afroman song, “Because I Got High,” which came out in the year 2000.

Some say the tweet was racist because of the song’s words, and many of the majority’s leaders are Black. Walczyk said if you think that, you’re way off track.

“Words are powerful, language matters,” said Bill Doyle, Program Manager at the Valley Recovery Center. “We preach that all the time, because that’s what perpetuates stigma for mental health, for substance abuse disorder, for everything, for racism. So, those words that he tweeted affect so many people in different ways. In a lot of different ways. Whether it’s the color of their skin, whether it’s their background, whether it’s how they’re living right now. It affects everyone. And Mark is in Albany to represent our community. Not just the recovery community, but the north county. That’s not how I want the north country perceived by anyone, because that’s not how I see the north country.”

When asked if Speaker Carl Heastie had seen the tweet, a spokesperson told 7 News, “The Speaker is hard at work on the state budget, and this kind of ignorance does not deserve a response.”

A spokesperson for Assemblyman Walczyk said, “There was no racial insinuation meant in that social media comment whatsoever. It was meant to point out, only in the state of New York would the legislature prioritize making marijuana legal, over passing an on time state budget that directly impacts 20 million people across the state.”

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