More than 30 people applied to fill the vacancy on Harrisburg City Council after Patty Kim was elected to represent the city in the State House of Representatives.
The applicants spent a couple minutes introducing themselves, after which Council voted by secret ballot to narrow the field down to six: Floyd Stokes, Latasha Frye, Jospeh Solomon, Michael Parker, Bruce Weber and Julie Bancroft.
“There’s a lot of people my age that are trying to find reasons to leave, and I’m trying to find reasons to stay and better it,” Frye told Council. She runs a non-profit called GIFT (Greatly Influencing the Future of Tomorrow) and helped organize the city’s Walk Against Violence.
Bancroft shared Frye’s sentiments, adding her concern about people in general leaving the city after the work day. “We need to strive to keep people in the city and want them to be here not just working,” she said.
All the six finalists were asked a series of the same questions, including their thoughts on the city’s financial crisis.
“Everyone has their own idea and opinion of it, but someone knows the truth,” said Michael Parker, a finalist who’s lived on Herr Street for 21 years.
Longtime District Judge Joseph Solomon touted his office’s ability to cut costs and added about the financial crisis, “Certainly bankruptcy should be a very serious consideration.”
Finalist Bruce Weber added, “The creditors should suck it up and take a big…cut.”
Several of the candidates talked about the need to bring surrounding municipalities into the conversation more, including on such issues as a countywide sales tax and the overall effect bankruptcy could have on the region.
“We have tremendous influence over this region, and I don’t think we’ve explored that enough,” said finalist Michael Parker.
Among the applicants who did not proceed to the interview stage: former Councilor Pat Stringer, former Treasurer candidate Steve Ketterer and longtime police officer Ellis Ray.
Council will meet next Tuesday evening to select a replacement.