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United Way of Lancaster County


Plenty of hopefuls seeking role on home rule study commission

Prospective candidates for the home rule study commission stand up to introduce themselves during a community meeting at Ebenezer Baptist Church on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023. (Photo: Tim Stuhldreher)

Whether you vote “yes” or “no” on establishing a home rule commission, you should still vote on which individuals would be on it, Mayor Danene Sorace said at Tuesday’s home rule informational meeting.

Lancaster city voters will decide on Tuesday, May 16, whether to impanel a nine-member commission to study home rule. They will also be able to select up to nine individuals to serve on the commission if is formed.

Prospective candidates have until March 7 to secure 200 petition signatures and file notarized paperwork with the Lancaster County Board of Elections to appear on the ballot. Based on that, the list of contenders for the ballot will be finalized.

The commission is nonpartisan, so political affiliations will not be listed. That also means that voters who aren’t Republicans or Democrats can weigh in. (Pennsylvania has closed primaries, which means that only registered party members can vote to determine which candidates will represent their party in the fall.)

Home Rule Study Commission candidates

The following individuals seeking to be Home Rule Study Commission members took part in Tuesday’s meeting on home rule at Ebenezer Baptist Church:

  • Brian Adams: Professor, Penn State Harrisburg
  • Peter Barber: Co-owner, Two Dudes Painting
  • Darlene Byrd, founder, South Ann Concerned Neighbors
  • Lisa Colon: Controller, Lancaster County
  • Ted Darcus: Former City Council President; former Boys & Girls Club director
  • Wes Farmer: Former executive director, Lancaster Community Safety Coalition
  • John Gouveia: Former Pa. Senate candidate
  • Jose Lopez: President, Spanish American Civic Association
  • John McGrann: Owner, Penn Stone
  • Marshall Miller: Chair, Lancaster City Democratic Committee; Communications manager, Wireless Infrastructure Association
  • Dena Maounis: Neighborhood activist
  • Ezra Rothman: Director, Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships at Economic Development Co. of Lancaster County
  • Amy Ruffo: Communications director, Fair Districts PA; executive assistant, Franklin & Marshall College
  • Barry Russell: Activist for community and LGBTQ+ issues
  • Barbara Wilson: Executive director, Lancaster City Housing Authority; former City Council member

In addition, several other candidates have indicated interest, including the following individuals:

  • Maxine Cook, Assistant director of faculty affairs, Lincoln University
  • Tony Dastra: Public works administrative assistant, Lancaster Township; former independent mayoral candidate.
  • Elizabeth Elias: Social worker and counselor; former City Council candidate
  • Carl Feldman: Policy specialist, Pa. Department of Human Services

Candidates are being given the opportunity to collect signatures at the home rule informational meetings the city administration is conducting.

At Tuesday’s meeting, 14 hopefuls introduced themselves briefly to the audience. (A 15th, County Treasurer Lisa Colon, attended the meeting but had to leave early.)
Sorace said several additional individuals have indicated an interest in running.

One previously announced candidate, former Mayor Rick Gray, has withdrawn his name due to anticipated scheduling conflicts.

City residents can sign up to nine candidates’ petitions, Sorace said; if they sign more, the additional signatures will be disqualified.

To be on the safe side, collect more than 200 signatures, she advised the candidates. As for the requirement for notarized paperwork City Hall will hold a free notarizing event on Sunday, March 5, she said.