York City Council race Q&A: Why you?


Five Democrats — two incumbents and three newcomers — will appear on the party's May 19 ballot for York City Council.

Three four-year terms are up for grabs.

Among the candidates are two incumbents, Council President Carol Hill-Evans and Councilman Michael Helfrich. Vying for a first term on the council are Amy Chamberlin, Carla Christopher and Sandie Walker.

Chamberlin is the operations manager at Mefro Wheels US Services. Christopher is the city's former poet laureate and a creative writing teacher at William Penn Senior High School. Walker currently serves on the York City School District school board.

Each week, The York Dispatch will ask the candidates to respond to a question about issues facing York.

This week's question: Why should York City voters put their faith in you?

Chamberlin: York City voters should put their faith in me because I truly care about the future of our city, and I am willing to work hard to achieve our common goal of a better York City. I have 15 years of nonprofit and grant writing experience. I know how to find and bring money to programs that can result in positive change for our constituents. I have experience working with diverse members of the community; I understand their struggles, and will support efforts that allow them to become self-sufficient, engaged community members. I am a homeowner, and active in my neighborhood association. I understand frustrations regarding high real estate taxes. I share the desire to see our streets be cleaner and safer, and our parks and green spaces to continue to be safe and beautiful oases in our city. I am committed to putting in the work necessary to enact positive change and address financial, public safety and quality of life issues. I'm willing to listen to any possible solutions that are brought to the table, and carefully consider what will result in the best possible outcome for our citizens.

Christopher: I am a trusted leader who is committed to renewing the promise of the City of York by improving the quality of life in our neighborhoods, delivering superior services, embracing the diversity of our citizens, and making York a desirable, safe city in which we live, work, raise a family, shop, study, play, and grow old. I have more than a decade of experience working in State, County and local government. I want to keep working on behalf of fellow Yorkers to ensure that everyone, regardless of socioeconomic background, gender, race, creed or sexual orientation, all have a seat at the table and every voice is heard.

Helfrich: I do what I say I am going to do. Because government is based on agreement of multiple people, I may not always get what I envision for York, but I don't stop working toward it. When you elected me in 2011, I promised three things: I would change city council, be your tax watchdog, and be a visionary for York's future. Change: Council has returned to a respected institution. Members still have strong opinions, but we discuss them while maintaining respect. Tax watchdog: In the 16 years before I was elected, our property taxes were raised 65 percent. I promised no property tax increase. In the three city budgets I worked on, I not only approved a balanced budget with no property tax increases, but I passed amendments further reducing city expenses and providing reductions to the city's debt. I'm now working toward a 20 percent tax cut. Visionary for York's Future: I've been working with citizens, churches, nonprofits and businesses to expand and develop programs for our kids, job and life-skills mentoring for young adults, businesses that provide jobs for York residents and mutual respect and communication between residents and police. I fulfilled my promises. I'd like to do more.

Hill-Evans: I bring proven leadership, knowledge, experience and commitment to the position of York City Council. As a first-term councilwoman, my colleagues saw leadership qualities by voting me as vice president of council then, and again two years later. Then as a second-term councilwoman, I was elevated to the position of president and have been for four years. During my tenure, I have proven to be an effective and caring leader — one who's willing to listen to the concerns of both city residents and those living in the surrounding communities. I took the time to learn the different processes in order to conduct more efficient meetings. I initiated the committee structure, thereby giving council an additional and more open forum for discussing issues that come before us. I have conducted myself as a professional and in the eight years of serving the City of York have only missed eight meetings. I ask for everyone's vote because I've proven myself to be the kind of leader that votes for legislation that improves the quality-of-life issues that concern our residents and legislation that is right for the city. I'm #5 on the ballot and I ask for your vote on May 19.

Walker: I'm a York City native who is experienced, educated, and dedicated to serving my community. My record as a School Board Director, former York City Employee, and Public Servant shows that I am a proven leader who will advocate for all citizens.