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Harris unseats Blackmon-Brace on City Council

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By Jesef Williams

One of Lancaster City Council’s most outspoken members has been unseated.

Jackie Harris, seeking elected office for the first time, defeated Councilwoman Linda Blackmon-Brace in Tuesday’s District 3 race.

Harris won 312 of the 562 votes cast, or 55 percent. Blackmon-Brace collected 250 votes.

Among the five voting precincts, the results were as follows:

– Lancaster East: Harris – 115 votes, Blackmon-Brace – 41 votes

– Lancaster West: Harris – 41, Blackmon-Brace – 11

– Wylie Park: Harris – 24, Blackmon-Brace – 3

– Chesterfield Avenue: Harris – 13, Blackmon-Brace – 7

– Gooches Crossroads: Harris – 15, Blackmon-Brace – 3

Despite losing each of the five precincts that encompass the city, Blackmon-Brace won more absentee votes – 185 compared to 104 for Harris.

‘A roller-coaster ride’

Harris described the Election Day experience as “a roller-coaster ride” as she waited for final results to come in. She said she’s excited about the outcome.

“My team had worked very hard in the community to get my name out there,” Harris said. “I knew it was in control of the people, and the people came out to vote.”

Harris, who’s worked 20 years at The Children’s Home in Lancaster, said one reason she ran for City Council was to give the voters a choice.

Between now and being sworn in, she wants to meet all of the city’s department heads, City Administrator Helen Sowell, Mayor Joe Shaw and the other members of council.

That, Harris said, will allow her to begin getting a better feel for the needs and issues facing the city. During the campaign, she listed support for the police department, concentration of job creation and attention to literacy as chief concerns.

“I’m very excited to be representing District 3 and the city of Lancaster,” she said.

‘Chance of  a  lifetime’

Blackmon-Brace, who’s winding down her second term on City Council, said she was saddened by Tuesday’s outcome but proud of the work she put in on the campaign and also glad to have served the city for eight years.

“I’m so happy the people allowed me to serve two terms on City Council,” she said. “That’s the chance of a lifetime.”

Blackmon-Brace said Harris also worked hard during her campaign and believes “she’ll serve us well” as the new District 3 representative.

Meanwhile, Blackmon-Brace is unsure about her political future. There’s a chance she could run for a City Council seat again or possibly pursue another elected office. She mentions 2014 as a possibility.

And although Blackmon-Brace will be leaving City Council soon, she still plans to attend every public meeting.

“There’s nothing like being in the room when something’s discussed,” she said. “I still want to be involved with what’s going on in our city.”

 

Contact reporter Jesef Williams at (803) 283-1152