About 100 people showed up to hear candidates for Western York County school board, county council and state House races spar over issues ranging from school funding to roads and sewer service during a Thursday night election forum.
The event at York Middle School, sponsored by the Greater York Chamber of Commerce, featured candidates for the York school district at-large seat, District 3 York County Council seat and state House District 47.
In the House 47 race, former 16th Circuit Solicitor Tommy Pope, a Republican, aims to unseat incumbent Rep. Herb Kirsh, a Clover Democrat. Both candidates agreed that state budget issues top the list of pressing concerns in Columbia.
“We’ve forgotten what government is about,” Pope told the crowd, saying he believes it needs to get back to the basics of funding public safety, infrastructure and schools. “Let’s use this to get back to what we’re supposed to do.”
Kirsh, a self-described fiscal conservative, said too much money is still being wasted in state government. “These people are spending like it’s going out of style,” he said. “It needs to be changed; there’s no doubt about that.”
In the District 3 county council race, which covers Western York County, Republican Eric Winstead faces Independent candidate Nancy Cornwell-Daves. Winstead defeated the incumbent, Joe Cox, in the Republican primary race.
Both candidates said the county didn’t have enough vision for its Pennies for Progress road improvement project when it got off the ground in 1997, but that leaders have learned from their early mistakes.
Daves said the county likely faces more budget cuts, and that better water and sewer infrastructure is needed in many areas to make way for economic development. Winstead agreed, saying “if we don’t aggressively solicit businesses to bring into this area, if we don’t aggressively improve our infrastructure, we’re going to fall short of where we want to be.”
In the at-large school board race, incumbent Shirley Harris faces challenger Austin Dawkins.
Dawkins called for the district to look for ways to improve parent involvement in the schools. “The district is facing financial problems, and we need all of our community to talk that extra step and get involved.”
Harris agreed that financial issues are a concern due to the loss of state funding. “I think if all of us work together, we can weather this storm. Yes, we may have to do some things that we don’t want to do, but it doesn’t mean we have not been fiscally responsible.”Check back to enquirerherald.com for more details.