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Four candidates — so far — seek three open York City Council seats

Rebecca Klar
York Dispatch
York City Council members, from left, H. Michael Buckingham, Vice President Sandie Walker, President Henry Nixon, Judy Ritter-Dixon and Edquina Washington take the stage during a York City Council Town Hall Meeting at Logos Academy in York City, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Four candidates so far have announced bids for three spots on York City Council — three incumbents and one challenger. 

Council members Michael Buckingham and Edquina Washington, who were appointed to finish the second half of terms vacated in 2018, are each running for a four-year term.

Buckingham, Washington and Council Vice President Sandie Walker, all Democrats, recently announced their bids for another term.

They join Lou Rivera, a Democrat and York City Latino and LGBT activist, who announced his bid for one of the three open council seats in October 2018. 

The Primary Election will be held May 19.

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Rivera was among seven residents competing to fill two vacancies  that went to Buckingham and Washington in January 2018. 

Council candidates run at large. The top three candidates who earn the most votes in the November Municipal Election win the seats. 

Washington: A York native, Washington said she wants to continue serving her community as a councilwoman. 

"I strongly believe in furthering our community and giving back to the community, that's the only way true change can happen," she said. 

Lincoln Charter School Board President and York City Council member Edquina Washington speaks during a rally while celebrating the 22nd annual National Walk to School Day Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. Students, accompanied by the school's Drum Lions drum corps, marched a route near the school and held the rally in its courtyard. Over 5,000 U.S. schools participated in the event which promotes health, safety and community. Bill Kalina photo

In addition to serving on city council, Washington is president of the Lincoln Charter School Board of Directors. She also sits on the Salvation Army of York Advisory Board and the YCEA Women's Business Center Advisory Council. 

Before being appointed to City Council in 2018, Washington was involved in city government as the director of community relations under former Mayor Kim Bracey. 

Washington said her proudest achievement as a city councilwoman was drafting the Safe Legislation, which expands the sick leave policy for city employees who are victims are sexual assault, domestic violence or stalking.

The bill passed unanimously in August, and York is the only city in central Pennsylvania to have the law, she said. 

"I know how important that is, because I am a survivor myself," Washington said. 

Washington also touted her ability to collaborate with community organizations to bring resources to small business owners and returning residents. 

If re-elected, Washington said she wants to focus on equitable community development and engagement, "ensuring that all of the voices in our community are heard and valued." 

Washington said she plans to continue to listen to all if re-elected. 

"I have an open-door policy and will talk to anyone, anywhere," she said. 

Buckingham: Buckingham is seeking re-election to continue giving back to the community in which he was born and raised, he said.

"I'm at the stage of my life where I want to continue to give if possible — and I have the time to do it, and I have the interest in doing it," Buckingham said. "I like the job. I like the challenge." 

York City Council member H. Michael Buckingham speaks during a York City Council town hall meeting at Logos Academy in York City, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Buckingham is a CPA with 16 years of experience in public accounting and 18 years of experience in retail business ownership and management. He also spent nine years as the CFO/controller of a tech company.  

"I have something to bring to the table that other members don't have, and I think that complements it well," he said. 

Buckingham also is a lifelong York City resident, leaving only briefly for college and military service. 

In addition to his year on City Council, he's served as a member of the City Planning Commission for more than 20 years. He also serves as treasurer of the Community Progress Council.

Buckingham touted the budget council passed in collaboration with the mayor without tax increases. He said he's also proud of the Safe Legislation the council passed, as well as a Fair Chance hiring policy that eliminated a question for potential city employees regarding criminal convictions. 

If re-elected, Buckingham said he wants to focus on improving the city's housing and neighborhoods. 

"I think that's been neglected for a little while, for far too long," he said.

Buckingham is developing a few ideas on how to better the situation, including creating public and private partnership opportunities in federal credit programs, he said. 

Sandie Walker: Walker, a lifelong York resident, was elected to the council in November 2015.

"I believe we still have so much work to do when it comes to improving the quality of life for the people of York," Walker said in a statement. 

York City Council members, from left, H. Michael Buckingham and Vice President Sandie Walker during a York City Council Town Hall Meeting at Logos Academy in York City, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. Dawn J. Sagert photo

In her statement, Walker said her background as a city employee and her education in leadership studies and urban policy gives her "a unique perspective into what we can do to make York a better place to live, work, play and raise a family." 

"With over 20 years of public service and almost a decade as an elected official, I believe my actions have shown my dedication to York City. I am committed to our youth. I am committed to York. I am committed to you," Walker said in her statement. 

Lou Rivera: Rivera is chairman of the local nonprofit Latino advocacy organization Latinos Unidos of York, which he helped form. He moved to the city in 2015 with his husband. 

Rivera also serves on the board of the United Way of York County, works as the director of premium services at the management consultant company Legends Hospitality and recently became the director of facilities and administration at the Appell Center for the Performing Arts.

In addition to his advocacy on behalf of the Latino community, Rivera has been active in LGBTQ activism in the city. 

Lou Rivera, chairman of the local Latino advocacy nonprofit Latinos Unidos, announces his candidacy for York City Council during First Friday Latinos outside CASA's York City welcoming center Friday, Oct. 5, 2018. Bill Kalina photo

When Rivera announced his candidacy in October 2018, he said he's running because there's "too much conflict and too little inspiration" in city politics and wants to address issues that "affect our 5.34 square miles and almost 50,000 citizens."

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Controller and treasurer: The city controller and treasurer spots also are up in May. York City Controller AliceAnne Frost said she will be seeking re-election.

The city controller performs the city's internal audits. Frost was appointed to finish out a term in 2018. She is running for another four-year term. 

"I'm running again because I enjoy being a part of York City government, and one big component of the controller's office is ensuring that taxpayer dollars are being used appropriately and accordingly," she said. 

Frost, from Pittsburgh, has a degree in accounting from York College  and  lives near William Penn Senior High School. Her background gives her the skills necessary for the job, she said. 

"I'm in the heart of the city," she said. "We have neighbors that have been here 20 some odd years. It's important to make sure that we're doing our best for the citizens of the city." 

City Treasurer Joe Jefcoat did not return a request for comment. 

The city treasurer is a part-time elected position responsible for the oversight of the York City Treasurer's Office. 


— Rebecca Klar can be reached at or via Twitter @RebeccaKlar_