OPED: Heartfelt thank you from York City mayor

C. Kim Bracey
Mayor, York City

It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve as your mayor.

Elected officials are only as good and conscientious as the character of the people who elect them.  I count my lucky stars and thank my maker that I have had the honor and privilege to represent you, the great people of our York, the little city that could, can and will — the resilient, never-say-die city on the rise and full of surprises.  

For nearly eight years, we have delivered a stable, capable, responsive, ethical and goal-achieving city government of, by and for our people because you deserve it and you demand it. 

I want to thank my family, my loyal friends, my campaign team and all those who put up signs, walked door-to-door, made phone calls, worked the polls, and rallied the support of your neighbors. I am humbled and honored and by your actions.

During dark hours when hurt, pain, and slanders came down on my family and me like torrential rain, you, my most loyal friends and family, my brothers and sisters, steeled my will and pushed me onward. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

I continue to be humbled and inspired by the professionalism and dedication of our city workforce of over 300 professionals. Thank you for all that you do.

You, our people, remarkably diverse, beautiful and resilient citizenry, are our greatest asset and the reason for our passionate, committed and diligent service. You, our greatest source of wisdom and commonsense, inspire us each day. 

You, our ultimate bosses and supervisors, see, touch, taste, and hear the fruits of our long-term efforts that took a long time to nurture. But how sweet is the taste of hard-earned goals and transformational achievements!

From the brink of fiscal distress to a bold new future, our third-class city has climbed through clouds of uncertainty to higher grounds of investment grade stability and first-class opportunity for all. 

Emphasizing communication, relationships and trust nurtured by neighborhood enforcement units, our intensified Community Policing Strategy has taken a big bite out of the most serious crimes that threaten life, property, and the pursuit of happiness.  Our Police Department was the first in York County to be universally   equipped with body cameras. 

At no net cost to city taxpayers, our administration has given our people a dignified, customer-friendly City Hall that is worthy of our people and our aspirations and a state-of-the-art Police Headquarters.

Investment, home sales and civic pride are on the rise.  New waves of neighborhood reinvestment are rippling or are on the horizon. 

Quality investors are unleashing tens of millions of new investment in our city neighborhoods. 

Creative collaborations with institutional leaders such as WellSpan Health, York College, the York County Community Foundation, Martin Library, to name just a few, have improved our charm and quality of life and bode well for a bold future where public-private partnerships and citizens create social capital and community.

Our future is you.  Our future is now and forevermore. 

We will continue to pursue our vision of our York as a thriving urban community in the months ahead, and we pledge our goodwill to the next administration.

My friends, whatever your political orientation or whomever you voted for, we all are Americans, Yorkers, and neighbors first. And what unites us is more powerful than what divides us.

I want to congratulate Michael Helfrich for running an energetic, grassroots campaign.  I pledge my cooperation and support during the transition between administrations.

More:Helfrich defeats Bracey in York City mayor race

Our York is bigger than any personality, than any mayor, than any election.  Its precious people, its charm, its heritage, its vitality, its energy, and noble dreams compel us to bury our differences and come together as a community to quest for transformational results.  As I’ve said before, our dream to achieve the great civil rights goals of the 21st century never dissipates, never dims, never dies:

  • The end to senseless gun violence
  • Pre-K for all
  • Quality education for all
  • Access to fresh, nutritious food for all
  • A clean and green Codorus and air quality for all
  • Destroying the cycle of poverty and
  • Zipcode Justice

Our dream lives on, and it is up to you, a new generation of torchbearers, to empower York to be the thriving urban community that it yearns to be. And do not worry.  We may have lost this one election — a spring relay, if you will.  But if we stay true to our ideals and our vision, we are winning the marathon, the long- game that defines York’s true character.   

Sometimes, in defeat, we can muster the rarest character, sincerity, and love of place that transcends personalities, rhetorical divides, our squabbles.

In those quiet, rare moments, when we reach deep inside, we conjure the best angels of our nature and the most honorable, sacrificial leadership and citizenship that will help our community heal and make our community richer, stronger, more authentic, more compassionate, more just. 

Therefore, I earnestly invite all to join me in healing and uniting our York to build One York: Indivisible, Invincible and Great!  

I warmly invite you to join us in our ongoing push for a more perfect York. Hands-in-hands, hearts-to-hearts, York’s best is on the march.

Join us in our marathon march for our great comeback city that could, can and will, one York where a river of economic and social justice runs through all of us,  and a community that runs on liberty, justice, opportunity and prosperity for all.

Thank you for your support, friendship, and citizenship. Thank you for granting me the honor of a lifetime in serving as your mayor. May god bless you, and may god continue to bless our York.

— C. Kim Bracey is mayor of York City.