Delma Rivera-Lytle officially approved as candidate for 93rd District

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
Delma Rivera, the Diversity Education Specialist at Central York School District, poses with a "Pennies for Puerto Rico" campaign poster at her office at Central York Middle School Friday, Jan. 26, 2018. She is planning a several-week trip to Puerto Rico where she has family and property. She will be coordinating shipping efforts of relief items from the U.S. as well as circulating the donated funds. The $500 raised thru the school’s Aevidum Club campaign will be given to La Escaela de Calvache, the school where her mother taught. Bill Kalina photo

After losing a nominee to a withdrawal, York County Democrats are back on track after the state party approved the nomination of community activist Delma Rivera-Lytle to run for the 93rd District in the November elections.

Rivera-Lytle, of Seven Valleys, now hopes to win the House seat, currently held by Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill, R-York Township, after a county party-selected committee of 39 individuals chose her as the nominee Monday, Aug. 13.

Casting call: The Democratic Party of York County put out a call Aug. 1 for a candidate to oppose Republican Mike Jones in the district after Meggan O’Rourke withdrew due to personal reasons.

More:York County Democrats look to fill 93rd District seat after O'Rourke withdraws

More:York Latina leader follows in mother's footsteps with advocacy

On Monday, Aug. 13, the committee chose its replacement and sent her nomination to the state party, which approved her candidacy Thursday, Aug. 16, officially placing her on the ballot come November.

The nominee works as the diversity education specialist at Central York Middle School, serves on the board of Latinos Unidos of York and is on Gov. Tom Wolf's Commission on Latino Affairs, which she joined in 2015.

Earlier this year, Rivera-Lytle also won the Dorrie Leader Advocacy Award, created by YWCA York in 1995 to honor women advocates for their work on social issues and for standing for its mission of peace, justice and dignity for all people, according to its website.

Now, she is hoping to take her Puerto Rican pride to the state Legislature.

Rivera-Lytle first became interested in running for office after becoming "outraged" by York County Rep. Scott Perry's comments about Puerto Rico last year.

More:Rep. Perry defends Trump's Puerto Rico response on CNN

Delma Rivera of Seven Valleys speaks a rally condemning Perry's comments about aid to Puerto Rico Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. She was one of the organizers for the rally and challenged Perry to visit Puerto Rico and offered to go along as his translator. Bill Kalina photo

She said comments from Perry, R-Carroll Township, downplayed the severity of the U.S. territory's crisis after Hurricane Maria spurred protests locally, which Rivera-Lytle herself participated in.

Timing is everything: However, the York City native said "timing is everything," and instead of entering the race then, she instead went to Puerto Rico to help family and friends in need.

"Timing for me is everything in life, and I knew I had to do the relief efforts for family and friends that were in need," Rivera-Lytle said. "However, when the opportunity to run recently became available, I knew it was the time, and I put my name in the hat to run."

While the ink has yet to dry on her official approval as a candidate, she is confident she will be able to win over voters even after a late start in the race.

"I truly believe that I have a good chance, and I've been truly overwhelmed with the support from the community," she said. "If I'm seen as an underdog since I entered at the last minute, well, I'm always for an underdog."

Rivera-Lytle said she would elaborate on her political platform after settling in, but she said in addition to Puerto Rican relief efforts, her campaign will focus on education, infrastructure, employment, housing and health care, specifically the opioid crisis.

These interests are not only fueled by working with children in York and with Latinos statewide, she said, but also through a family member's own struggle with opioids.

Just one day into her official nomination, Rivera-Lytle added that she's already learning.

"I'm learning that there's so much involved in running for public office," she said. "It's very educational, and I feel that I can now encourage others to run for office as I go through this experience in a short amount of time."