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A Spring Garden Township man is hoping to make history by becoming the first Republican to represent the Democratic haven of York City in the state house since the mid-1980s.

Joel Sears, 69, said he's running for the 95th House District, currently held by Democrat Kevin Schreiber.

"I don't feel we are being adequately represented," Sears said.

Sears is president of the York County Taxpayers Council, a non-partisan advocacy group aimed at holding government at all levels accountable. He is also a former member of the York Suburban school board, serving from 2011 to 2015.

Taxes: If elected, Sears said, his main focus would be to eliminate school property taxes. If that is done, he said out-of-state businesses would be more apt to move to Pennsylvania and that would prove beneficial to residents in the district.

"It would reverberate through the middle-Atlantic region," he said. "I want to do what's best for the area. That includes the city and that includes the (city) school district."

Numerous efforts to eliminate or, at least, reduce school property taxes were launched in the state over the years but none came to fruition. Most recently Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf attempted to reduce property taxes as part of his budget proposal that also included an increased and expanded sales tax but Republicans argued it was a tax shift and didn't benefit all residents.

Shifiting public employees from a taxpayer-funded pension system to a 401(k)-style system would also be a priority, Sears said.

He said the four years he served on the school board showed him elected officials have to work together to get things done.

"You have to work collaboratively and you can't be a dictator," he said.

Background: Sears is the owner of Fleet Technologies Inc. where he's a software engineer. He is a 1968 graduate of Colorado State University.

He has four children and three grandchildren. Sears is also the manager of the Gettysburg Big Band.

The 95th House District includes York City, West York, Spring Garden Township and part of West Manchester Township.

Rank-and-file members of the House are paid $85,339 yearly.

The primary is April 26.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.

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