Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Politician Who Won't Say Pledge Of Allegiance May Be Recalled

DENVER -- A recall election is now set for an Estes Park, Colo., trustee who refuses to stand up and recite the Pledge of Allegiance during the Town Board meetings.

David Habecker sits while others stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

"I have not been standing for the Pledge of Allegiance due to a conflict I have with the wording of the pledge, specifically the words 'under God,'" Councilman David Habecker said.

Habecker said it's a violation of church and state to include the words in the pledge and for that reason, he won't stand.

The board began reciting the pledge before meetings earlier this year at the suggestion of Trustee Lori Jeffrey-Clark. She suggested it as a way to show respect for the country during wartime.

Jeffrey-Clark said Habecker is expressing his personal views, not representing townspeople, when he sits down.

Habecker, who's served on the Town Board for 12 years, said he doesn't oppose the meaning of the pledge, and considers himself a patriot.

But some other council members and residents are upset about his actions and have enough signatures to hold a recall election. That recall election will occur Tuesday, Feb. 15.

All residents will vote on whether to recall David Habecker and a choice for his replacement in the event the recall passes. The recall is expected to cost a few thousand dollars.

"I'm sad for the community, that there is that much intolerance in our community. But if the people want to have a voice in what's going on, this is their way of doing it. And I will respect whatever the wishes of the community are," Habecker said.

Estes Park, which has about 5,500 residents, is the eastern gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park about 60 miles northwest of Denver.

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