Harrisburg

Depend Me In: 13 candidates are operating for seats on Harrisburg Metropolis Council – The Burg Information

Six mayoral candidates may seem like a crowded field, but how about 13 city council candidates?

Fortunately, you can vote for more than one, as there are four or four year old seats in the primary this year. Two current council members are running for re-election, accompanied by eleven challengers. All are running for Democratic nominations.

We asked each candidate two questions and printed the answers below in alphabetical order. Answers were limited to 275 words and have been slightly edited to suit our style requirements.

We hope these answers will help you make up your mind when you go to the voting booth for the May 18 primary.

Vishal Bajpai

Which urban problem are you most interested in?

One of the main reasons I am running for the Council is to change our city's approach to public safety, particularly in relation to budget priorities. For example, the most recent budget has increased police agency funding by around $ 2 million and the total police budget to around $ 21 million without introducing significant reforms.

I firmly believe that we need to seek public safety alternatives that focus on community development and social services rather than relying on higher levels of policing. We need to fund counselors, nurses and career coaches in Harrisburg public schools, not more cops. We need a citizens' screening body with the power to investigate police wrongdoing. We need real investment in urban infrastructure and social programs to address the roots of these problems and build a city for all of us.

This is a large field of candidates; What makes you different from the others?

My commitment to community-driven change and my focus on innovative political strategies set me apart in this field of candidates. Part of this commitment is reflected in my campaign approach. Anyone in Harrisburg can go to my website and schedule time to talk to me about topics that are important to them. As a member of the city council, I will work proactively to involve Harrisburg residents in the political process and to fight for policy changes that meet residents' needs. More than ever, our city council needs creative, courageous leadership and no stamp for the mayor's agenda.

Lori Ann Beamer-Saulisbury

Which urban problem are you most interested in?

The problem I have with the city is the lack of communication in our governing body as the city council. There needs to be better communication among each other and not just friends alone in our political arena during election times. As a council member, there must be better team discussions with the mayor than the city government's team effort, with other officials alike. This will bring a better understanding of people improvement to the city as a whole, not just in downtown and midtown, but throughout the city of Harrisburg. I believe that when people see and hear government of kindness, love, and sincere care, it encourages our residents, seniors, youth and children, as well as corporations, stakeholders, investors and entrepreneurs, to do better for Harrisburg better too.

This is a large field of candidates; What makes you different from the others?

The most important thing to set me apart from the candidates is my 25 years as a minister and servant of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which reconciles people with GOD. This is the BIGGEST opportunity for humanity to demonstrate love, kindness and care for their fellow human beings. I also have 15 years of service in Harrisburg as a volunteer, community activist, to stop violent prayer vigils and street march gatherings. I also served as a two-year Democratic committee woman, two-time NAACP board member, and chair of the WIN (Women in NAACP) committee for 15 years. Wisdom, experience and skill are the determining factors in becoming the next Harrisburg City Councilor. Better communication with our government agency through politics, security and redevelopment for THE IMPROVEMENT OF HARRISBURG. Bring BETTER hope, aid and affordable housing to the less fortunate and homeless, give neighborhoods a better sense of pride and dignity, and invite entrepreneurs to invest and generate income in our city.

Roy Christ

Which urban problem are you most interested in?

I'm passionate about many things in our great city, but I've only picked a few to talk about here. I believe that if we can make a difference in these areas, we can expose the greatness of Harrisburg. Without the people who live here, Harrisburg is just a name on a map. I believe that in order for our city to become what we can do, we need sustainable family wages. We have the advantage of having work and industry here in our backyard, and we can take advantage of that. The governor's education and training council meets every first Thursday of the month. In these meetings, the Council responds to the new developments in the industry and is open to the public. We should have someone there. Training is the key. If we have the best trained workforce, industry will build a way to our door. The disease is a very serious problem in our city. We need to pass laws that hold the LLCs accountable for the property they buy. Far too often, they buy and sell real estate in our town as if it were a trading card, and leave a mess in the neighborhood. I plan to hold them accountable for what they do. Finally, I firmly believe that quality of life issues should be treated like buildings. We offer incentives for building in the city. So why not create incentives for quality of life issues? If we gave breaks for grocery stores and transportation, we would be doing a great deal of mutual aid.

This is a large field of candidates; What makes you different from the others?

What sets me apart from the rest of the people is experience. I have served the city in some way for nearly 20 years. At some point I fought for everyone in our city. I still have a lot of "good problems" inside of me.

Shamaine Daniels (incumbent)

Which urban problem are you most interested in?

There is no topic that interests me. I would say I focus more on a number of overlapping issues to support and maintain poverty among our residents. I would like to see barriers to self-sufficiency removed, our focus shifted from alienating and investing in our residents, and ending unequal urban service delivery and law enforcement. I have a voting report that residents could review to see if my voting is in line with these principles.

This is a large field of candidates; What makes you different from the others?

I have experience as a councilor and litigator who holds the government accountable when it abandons its residents. Because of my non-political work, I also have an insight into the lived experiences of our residents in a way that only a few other professions allow.

Crystal Davis

Which urban problem are you most interested in?

Public works are the topic that excites me the most. During my conversations with Harrisburg residents about their concerns, I learned that issues with degraded infrastructure, deteriorating potholes, garbage buildup, crumbling sidewalks, inoperable street lights, and missing street signs, to name a few, are at the fore of our frustrations.

Broken street lights encourage crime and residents are afraid to go out and take a walk. Drivers are at increased risk of losing control of their vehicles and suffering fatal injuries due to dangerous road conditions. Wherever garbage is left lying around for a long time, the soil and drinking water can be contaminated and become a hotspot for disease-transmitting animals.

This is a large field of candidates; What makes you different from the others?

A lifelong history of service sets me apart from the other candidates. After graduating from Harrisburg High School, I joined the US Army for six years during the Desert Storm War and served wherever I attended aviation school. My desire to continue serving after I retired from the military led me to pursue higher education and become a licensed nurse. Working as a nurse has enabled me to care for the health and wellbeing of our seniors, disabled veterans, and the mentally handicapped in our community and the surrounding communities.

Desiring to serve the grassroots community, I became the founder and CEO of At Home Personal Care, LLC, a home care agency that stayed on the front lines during the pandemic to ensure the safety and wellbeing of ours Residents are not guaranteed to be interrupted.

I will be equally committed to the city council.

Carrie Fowler

Which urban problem are you most interested in?

There is not just ONE topic that inspires me in our city! I love our residents and the social and economic growth of the businesses and residents who call Harrisburg home. When you love something that you reinforce, you fight for it and do everything to make it better! These topics include: Security, Trash, City's Response to Problems, Economic Growth, and Code Enforcement! Blight is closely related to many problems in our city that I want to solve related to health, crime, poverty and economic development. I'm tired of city government that is reactive and not proactive. We have forgotten important parts of our city for too many years and I want to concentrate on all parts of the city. Neighborhoods are the heart and soul of our city!

This is a large field of candidates; What makes you different from the others?

This is what sets me apart from other candidates as a social worker at the master level! I am a professionally trained communicator with specific ideas on how to empower communities. I understand socio-economic issues and am determined to bring those skills to use in decision-making. I will bring the same passion, strength, and tenacity to the City Council that I have shown to the Harrisburg School Board of Directors. I know how the government works and I know how the government can work. My most recent professional roles have included Political Organization Director for Tom Steyer's 2020 Presidential Campaign and Senate Organizational Director for Planned Parenthood, advocating the 2020 candidate races.

I am prepared on the first day with the knowledge, skills, and strength a councilor must have to get the job done.

Sarah Gethers

Which urban problem are you most interested in?

Harrisburg is made up of so many incredible BIPOCs, yet we are often 10 steps behind white families and business owners. Minorities struggle to succeed in personal and business endeavors and have limited access to the myriad of resources and programs that are underrepresented and not publicly communicated. It is a great passion for me to offer black and brown citizens an efficient and effective way to access important resources in our city. Young black families should have support in their hopes of owning a home. Latinx citizens should have clear communication no matter what neighborhood they live in. Black entrepreneurs deserve honest guidance from city government. If I were elected to the city council, I would give minority communities in Harrisburg transparent access to resources. The way our city works shouldn't be a mystery to the people who live in it. We need documents, websites and COVID-safe meetings where elected officials and local citizens can discuss the important needs of the community in layman terms and determine how our city can best serve their greatest priority: the people.

This is a large field of candidates; What makes you different from the others?

Dealing with power-hungry politicians is exhausting. I think what sets me apart from most is that as a city council member I can serve with a new perspective and see clearly where the city hurts without being exhausted from years of politics. Through my own experiences and countless conversations with affected citizens, I understand the problems our city is really facing. My first priority is to listen to people and not encourage personal, business, or political relationships. I will meet the real needs of all residents, regardless of neighborhood, occupation or background.

Ausha Green (incumbent)

Which urban problem are you most interested in?

The city of Harrisburg is really at a crucial point as we become financially stable. Now is the time to invest in the citizens who are left with financial difficulties and who continue to dedicate themselves to our city. We need to focus on promoting development across the city, reducing crime, promoting truly affordable housing in the city, and providing resources to city dwellers.

This is a large field of candidates; What makes you different from the others?

As a lifelong resident of the city, I know the problems the city has faced for a long time. As a current member of Harrisburg City Council, I also have the experience and understanding of the process to get things done.

Lavet Henderson

Which urban problem are you most interested in?

If I am elected, the issues I will fight for will be child safety, the use of mental health resources, and the reduction of gun violence. I want to look at the poverty and conditions of families in trouble, especially young people at risk. The city has limited resources, but if the city receives additional funding from the federal or state government, those dollars should be allocated to help communities in difficulty. If elected, I will ensure that resources are responsibly allocated to programs and organizations dealing with re-entry, child care and mental health services.

This is a large field of candidates; What makes you different from the others?

As a lifelong Harrisburger, I understand the problems of our residents very well because I have seen many of them myself. I lost loved ones to gun violence and saw our youth in the church fall victim to a solvable problem. I know that when I vote, I will always make the best decision on behalf of the voters in town because I am one of them. I know what it is like not to be heard and I don't want others to feel that way. If I am elected, I plan to lead to everyone with inclusion and fairness. I don't believe in further dividing our country, but in leading with unity and including everyone, regardless of ethnicity, background or culture of the person.

I would like to wish all candidates well and sincerely hope that we can all work together, win or lose, to move this city forward.

Jennie Jenkins-Dallas

Which urban problem are you most interested in?

I am enthusiastic about living, these are four separate but interrelated topics.

First, only 27% of Harrisburg's current residents own their homes; By increasing home ownership, we are increasing our tax base and promoting civic pride. If I am elected, I plan to organize a coalition of housing initiatives to help people create financial stability and help them buy their first home.

Second, we need to help existing homeowners, especially low-income and elderly residents. There are programs that need to be paid for repairs like roofs and hot water tanks, but we need to proactively link them to these programs to keep houses from falling into disrepair.

Third, we have to deal with homelessness. We are likely to see a sharp spike in homelessness when the COVID eviction moratoriums expire and we have to be ready. The city should strengthen coalitions to find innovative solutions, like the proposed tiny house project for homeless veterans.

Finally, we need to address the needs of the public housing system by improving management, increasing the choice of housing, upgrading units and prioritizing the safety of residents. By expanding employment and education resources, we can give people the tools to change their circumstances and move from public housing to home ownership.

This is a large field of candidates; What makes you different from the others?

I have the vast experience necessary to serve the people of Harrisburg. I was a police officer in the city for 11 years. I am a businesswoman who publishes two newspapers, a woman of faith and a woman mother and grandmother. As the only Latino woman in the race, I represent the diversity that makes Harrisburg so wonderful. Most of all, I have the drive, the energy and the determination to use my experience to bring about real change. Learn more about my complete platform at www.votejennie.com.

Robert Lawson

Which urban problem are you most interested in?

Personally, I think Harrisburg is PA's crown jewel. We have a wonderful and diverse population. We're big enough to experience urban flair, but not so big that you feel lost in the noise. Home to an emerging arts scene, we have lots of great young thinkers, thriving entrepreneurs, and are way above our weight class when it comes to bringing out athletic talent.

Harrisburg, however, has an inferiority complex. This is due to the fact that almost a third of our residents live below the poverty line. About the same number of residents live within our city limits as nomads, as they deal with evictions and / or substandard housing. Poverty leads to instability. Instability leads to stress. Stress leads to poor academic performance, which leads to juvenile delinquency, which leads to over-police, etc.

My passion is to attack the root cause of Harrisburg's diseases. The Buy Back Our Blocks initiative will fight poverty and improve the quality of life by making massive efforts to improve the declining housing stock in Harrisburg. We must counter this by investing in our residents by hiring minority-owned contractors based in Harrisburg. We need to rebuild our neighborhoods along the lines of current residents. These residents, in turn, will support their local restaurants, beauty salons, furniture stores, and more. It's about recycling our dollars.

This is a large field of candidates; What makes you different from the others?

It struck me that, to varying degrees, we had similar points of view on these issues. However, we do not share the same important hierarchy. Every candidate believes in economic opportunity, but I believe that this is THE problem. We can create a city where citizens thrive and then other issues take care of themselves. I look for real solutions to basic problems. I have over 20 years of history in the mortgage and real estate industries. My solutions can deliver tangible results. This is a chance to bring real relief in a city I love.

Jocelyn Rawls

Which urban problem are you most interested in?

The city issues that matter most to me are establishing more innovative youth programs and activities, access to mental health services, success for a variety of small businesses, and the continued beautification of Harrisburg. It is my passion to work as a community and to create a family environment in which every resident is valued, important and recognized. We must put humanity and compassion first to move Harrisburg forward.

This is a large field of candidates; What makes you different from the others?

What sets me apart from the other candidates is that I've been a civil servant for 15 years. As a teacher and a mother, I have fought for the rights of those who may not be able to fight for themselves. My life experiences have taught me the importance of teamwork, collaboration and unity.

If I am elected to Harrisburg City Council, I will always remember why I ran for office. I am running for Harrisburg City Council to support the City of Harrisburg. I run to serve the people and make sure their voices are heard. As I make decisions, I will always wonder how that decision provides opportunity, support, and security for the residents of Harrisburg. I will not forget them and I will work to ensure that our city government works for the people. I will be a civil servant. My campaign isn't about Jocelyn Rawls; it's about the residents of Harrisburg.

Ralph Rodriguez

Which urban problem are you most interested in?

While I understand that our city has a myriad of problems, investing in our youth is critical to moving Harrisburg forward. Providing opportunities and resources for our children is an investment in the infrastructure of our future. The park and recreation department in our town needs additional programming and redesign to keep and serve our younger population. Especially now, during a global pandemic, when most families are indoors and parents need electrical outlets for their children. Education initiatives based on STEAM promote artistic development, community engagement and physical education. Public safety will improve dramatically over time as the energies of our youth are channeled into productive and positive initiatives. With a background in program development and coordination, I believe that as chairman of the Parks and Recreation Committee, I will be an asset to the City of Harrisburg.

This is a large field of candidates; What makes you different from the others?

For over a decade I have shown persistence and innovation throughout my work. To date, my efforts have provided basic needs, emergency resources, and vacation assistance to thousands of vulnerable families in Central PA. In advocating for social equality, I have led protests that included guests such as Governor Wolf, Mayor Eric Papenfuse, and Police Commissioner Thomas Carter who influenced the signing of (HB 1841 & 1910) police reform in PA. My most recent awards include both the Central Pennsylvania Business Journal Innovation Award and Dauphin County's Democratic Committee endorsement. As your next councilor, I will make sure that our citizens are a top priority in any bill that is voted on. I swear that every dollar allocated goes to benefit the stakeholders in this community. On May 18, Ralph Rodriguez elects the city council, number seven in the "Because you earn more" vote.

For the school board

The main election this year will be long.

In addition to mayor and city council boards, Harrisburg voters must choose their next group of school principals.

Seven Democrats are fighting for four or four-year seats on the board. The following is a list of candidates in alphabetical order.

Michael Balsbaugh
Brian Carter (incumbent)
Jorge Collazo
Roslyn Copeland
Jaime Johnsen
Ezra Match (Cross-Filed as Democrat and Republican)
Danielle Robinson (incumbent)

In addition, a Democrat, Terricia Radcliff, is running for the only two-year seat on the board.

The primaries are scheduled for May 18th.

To learn more about the school board candidates and their platforms, read our online story.

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