Greenwood Lake mayor defends right to free speech over sign denouncing Hillary Clinton

GREENWOOD LAKE, New York (WABC) -- A fight over free speech is turning the presidential election into an issue for a mayoral race in New York.

When the mayor of Greenwood Lake hung a 'Hillary for Prison' sign in his office window, he received a letter suggestion he wasn't fit to lead.

Now that mayor is speaking out.

"I truly believe that she is a criminal and should be in prison and certainly ineligible to run for the presidency," said Jesse Dwyer.

He doesn't mince words when it comes to his disdain for Hillary Clinton, and his support for Donald Trump is plain to see.

Dwyer owns a medical billing company in Greenwood Lake. The windows of his Main Street business are festooned with signs supporting Trump and a couple that read 'Hillary for Prison'.

Dwyer also happens to be the mayor of the village and calls the display a matter of free speech.

"My right as a private citizen to have a sign on my private business," he said.

But there has been some negative feedback. The most notable: an anonymous letter mailed to Village Hall, citing, "hateful rhetoric" and accusing Dwyer of not having "a clear vision of inclusiveness."

Just 31 years old, Dwyer has long been involved in politics in Greenwood Lake, and ran unopposed for mayor four years ago.

"One of the first things I did as mayor was I appointed a woman deputy mayor, I appointed a black village trustee, a Hispanic cop and a Hispanic mayor of our planning board," said Dwyer.

While Dwyer says he doesn't agree with all of Trump's views, his support is based on his belief Trump is better suited to revive the economy.

Regardless of which candidate they support, many agree with the mayor's right to express his opinion.

"It's not a sign that I would hang at my house but he's entitled to his opinion," said area resident Holly King. "I don't think it's necessarily hateful, there's a lot of people that feel that way but I don't think it's hate speech or anything."

It remains to be seen if presidential politics will impact the mayoral race. The author of the letter is vowing to run a candidate against Dwyer. That election is in March. null
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