In the Republican primary for the District 3 seat on the York County Council, we endorse incumbent Joe Cox.
Cox is opposed in the primary by Robert Winkler, an adviser with the Edward Jones financial firm in York. While Winkler is a solid candidate, who also boasts experience in retail management and involvement in a variety of charitable and community organizations, we think he falls short of making the case that Cox should be replaced.
Before his election to the council in 2006, Cox served for five years as mayor of Sharon. After serving two terms as councilman, he was defeated in the 2010 GOP primary by Eric Winstead.
In 2012, he took the seat back after Winstead stepped down, and now seeks a fourth term on the council.
Since joining the council, Cox has been a straightforward and outspoken advocate for the residents of the western part of the county. He prides himself on both answering phone calls from constituents and keeping them apprised of issues that affect them.
Cox is not always satisfied that actions taken by the council are in the best interests of western York County. For example, he wasn’t pleased with the agreement the council made regarding ambulance service for the county, saying required response times to the rural communities in his district were too slow.
He is proud of efforts to revamp the management of York County Culture and Heritage Commission, but he opposed the lawsuit filed by the county against the foundation that had served as the primary fundraising arm for the museums.
He thinks the distribution of hospitality tax money shorts his side of the county, and he has pushed the council to slash funding for the Rock Hill/York County Convention and Visitors Bureau. He says the unincorporated areas of the county often get overshadowed by Rock Hill.
He also is opposed to spending public money on Access, the county-run bus service for the elderly and infirm, saying it is too expensive and inefficient. He voted against allowing Access program managers to apply for federal and state grants and voted to reject bids to replace four buses.
“I say ‘no’ a lot by myself,” Cox said.
Cox can be argumentative and blunt. But he also does his homework and is well informed on the details of issues facing the council.
He has not made much headway with efforts to establish fire substations in western York County. But he has worked hard to persuade the rest of the council to go along with the plan.
He views road maintenance as a significant need for his district as well as the entire county. He advocates taking the penny sales tax now dedicated to new road projects under Pennies for Progress and using it for maintenance of existing roads instead.
We sometimes take issue with Cox’s views, such as his opposition to the Access bus service, but generally we think he acts in the best interests of the entire county. And having someone on the council who challenges fellow members and asks questions can be an asset.
We think Cox deserves the nomination.
(The winner of this primary will face Steve Love, who is unopposed in the Democratic primary, in the Nov. 4 general election.)