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Westchester Politicians Applaud Supreme Court Prayer Decision

Board of Legislators Chairman Michael Kaplowitz asks for a contemplative moment of silence before every county board meeting.
Board of Legislators Chairman Michael Kaplowitz asks for a contemplative moment of silence before every county board meeting. Photo Credit: File Photo
County Legislator John Testa said he approves a Supreme Court decision to allow prayers before government meetings.
County Legislator John Testa said he approves a Supreme Court decision to allow prayers before government meetings. Photo Credit: File Photo

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- Westchester politicians have spoken out in favor of a U.S. Supreme Court decision to allow prayer before municipal meetings.

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to allow for public prayer before town board meetings after two women sued the town of Greece in upstate New York, because they objected to invocations before meetings.

Michael Kaplowitz, chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators, who represents Chappaqua, Somers and parts of Yorktown, said he did not want to comment on the Supreme Court's ruling but said at county board meetings he asks for a contemplative moment of silence to reflect on "this great country, its people and those it around the world."

"It's a suitable way to start the meeting and put things in proper focus," Kaplowitz said. "It's a proper way to start."

County Legislator John Testa, who represents parts of Cortlandt, Peekskill and Yorktown said he was glad the Supreme Court allows prayer.

"It's what this country was founded on," Testa said. "I think it's appropriate. I'm very comfortable with having a prayer before a meeting."

Diane DiDonato-Roth, former councilwoman in North Castle, said she thinks the Supreme Court ruling is great.

"We need a little God in our life," DiDonato-Roth said. "God sometimes is a base for civility. We're all here together for the greater good of creating the best we can for our daily lives."

DiDonato-Roth said there's a reason "In God We Trust" is the official motto of the United States.

"Prayer before meetings is a wonderful thing to allow," DiDonato-Roth said. "Prayer helps bring us back to our bases."