Councilwoman under fire for refusing to recite Pledge of Allegiance

Posted: Updated:
PEEKSKILL -

A Peekskill councilwoman is under fire for refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at council meetings.

Fresh off an election victory last November, 26-year-old Democrat Vanessa Agudelo recited the pledge at her inauguration in January as a new councilwoman in Peekskill.

Agudelo has refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance at council meetings since then.

At the last meeting in April, she was confronted by an angry Peekskill resident demanding she show respect to the flag. Agudelo, who says she is a proud member of the Hudson Valley Democratic Socialists of America, says her refusal to say the pledge is a personal choice.

She issued a statement to News 12 that reads in part, "My reason for respectfully refraining from saying the Pledge of Allegiance is not because I don't respect the values this country stands for, it is because of our country's failure to truly uphold them. I have the utmost respect for our service women and men, both overseas and in the states."

Former Republican Peekskill Mayor Frank Catalina called Agudelo’s stance cowardly, but the current mayor is defending her personal right not to say the pledge.

Agudelo says she will be making her own video statement on the controversy and will release it by the end of this week.

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