Local attendees of State of the Union address discuss their hopes for the speech

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D) is welcoming Rev. Dr. Stephen Pogue, of Mount Vernon, as his guest.

Nadia Galindo

Feb 7, 2023, 1:13 PM

Updated 467 days ago

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Some local residents will be representing the Hudson Valley at President Joe Biden's State of Union address in Washington, D.C.
News 12's Nadia Galindo spoke to one of them - a local pastor - about what he hopes to hear the president address.

The Rev. Dr. Stephen Pogue will be the special guest of Rep. Jamaal Bowman, who represents part of Westchester and the Bronx.

"I'm excited to hear the direction that President Biden believes this country needs to go, excited to hear how we work together to get us there," he says. 
Pogue is the pastor of the Greater Centennial Church in Mount Vernon and describes the church as a community service, especially as cases of police brutality continue against African Americans.
"We want to make sure the president takes the lead in building these reforms across the country so this will never happen again," he says. 
Health care is also top of mind. 
Pogue is the president of Save Mount Vernon Hospital Coalition, which is fighting to keep the city's only hospital open.
"How can we make sure a community stays healthy? And you cannot stay healthy if you rip out services out of hospital in communities that are Black and brown," he says. 
The concerns are echoed by Cheryl Brannan, a Yonkers advocate who will be at the State of the Union as special guest of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
The Yonkers woman founded the nonprofit Sister to Sister International, which advocates for Black maternal health.
Pogue says the country faces many issues, and what he'd really like to see is lawmakers coming together on critical issues.
"We have to come back and ask our senators, congressmen and women to do what's right for the community and the country - and not what's right for a party," he says. 
Pogue says he will be using his time in Washington, D.C. to talk to key decision makers about other issues impacting Mount Vernon, including the need to rebuild vital infrastructure.


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