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Fresh off his election as West York mayor, Shawn Mauck is ready to get back on the campaign trail, announcing a run for the state Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Scott Wagner in 2018.

Wagner, R-Spring Garden Township, has said he will not run for re-election as he pursues the Republican nomination for governor, and Mauck is hoping to fill that seat with a Democrat for the first time since 1994.

Though he's running as a Democrat, Mauck touts himself as a fiscal conservative — pointing out that he never voted for a tax increase during his time on borough council — and he said he wants to build bipartisan support for his campaign throughout the county.

"I think people are disgusted with the current polarization in our political system," he said. "They just want real solutions to their problems ... I'm prepared to listen to the best ideas regardless of party."

Mauck had served as West York Borough Council president until taking over as mayor in October 2016 after former Mayor Charles Wasko resigned amid community outrage over several racist Facebook posts.

More: Racism in York County: 'We have to be honest'

More: Mauck sworn in as West York's new mayor

He ran unopposed for mayor this year, receiving about 340 votes during the Nov. 7 municipal election.

Mauck said he was encouraged by residents to pursue a state or federal public office when he was out campaigning for mayor.

He previously attempted to secure the Democratic nomination for the 95th District House seat that eventually went to state Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York City.

Mauck and Hill-Evans were among a handful of local Democrats who pleaded their cases to Democratic Party of York County members to replace Kevin Schreiber on the ballot after he dropped out of the race to become president and CEO of the York County Economic Alliance.

Mauck now joins a race for the 28th Senate District that includes state Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill, R-York Township.

More: Phillips-Hill set to announce state Senate run

Phillips-Hill, serving her second term, has never faced a Democratic challenger and last faced an opponent on the ballot during the 2014 primary election.

Decriminalization: One issue the two could expect to debate during the campaign is their positions on marijuana.

Mauck just resigned from his job with the state Auditor General's Office in September, and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale has been outspoken in his support to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana.

Mauck said he believes Pennsylvania will eventually get to full legalization and now would be a good time re-examine the state's policies.

He proposed an ordinance in January to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana in the borough, but council members narrowly voted down the proposal.

More: West York council rejects marijuana decriminalization

More: Mayor Bracey signs York City's marijuana decriminalization ordinance

Phillips-Hill said she believes it would be prudent to wait and see how implementation of the state's new medical marijuana program goes before adopting any new legislation.

She said she would be cautious before moving toward decriminalization, but she would listen to what her constituents say on the matter.

Mauck said he is planning to hold an official campaign kickoff rally Dec. 16, but time and location haven't been finalized.

— Reach David Weissman at dweissman@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @DispatchDavid.

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