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Voters to decide three Lancaster City Council races

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Two seats are contested; Eddins running unopposed

Three of the seven seats on Lancaster City Council are up for election this year. 

Incumbent Linda Blackmon-Brace and Jackie Harris are vying for District 3. Jean Cureton and incumbent Tamara Green Garris are looking to best the other candidate for the District 4 seat, while Sara Eddins is unopposed as she seeks re-election to District 6. 

City Council members, who serve four-year terms, don't run along party lines. 

District 3 

Linda Blackmon Brac

Blackmon-Brace, who’s in her second stint as a city councilwoman, said she has fought for a better city over the past four years. 

“I think that it’s really one candidate in the race,” she said. “I've served the district well.” 

She said she’s proud to have supported council’s allotment of $25,000 for Lancaster County Economic Development Corp., which she believes is doing a great job of attracting industry to the area. 

Blackmon-Brace is also happy to see the barricades removed at Pardue Street Apartments that left the complex with only one entrance a few years ago. 

Regarding the city’s budget, she stands behind council's decisions to use reserve money to pay for construction projects and other one-time expenses. 

She said she’d rather do that than raise taxes even more. 

“We’ve been very good stewards over the money,” she said. “Our reserves are very strong.” 

If re-elected, Blackmon-Brace said she will continue advocating for the renovation project at the old Barr Street school, which has been turned into a community center. 

Jackie Harris

Harris, who’s looking to hold elected office for the first time, sees a council that doesn’t operate cohesively and has members who carry personal agendas. 

In this election, the voters will decide if it’s time for a new voice for District 3, Harris said. 

“I have the ability to listen to the people’s wants for our city and bring them (the ideas) back to council,” she said. “We need some fresh ideas on council.” 

Although Springs Industries is gone, Harris is confident Lancaster can still prosper as a city. She touts the opening of the downtown Native American Studies Center as an example of the city’s ability to “come alive” again. 

If elected, Harris wants to further support the Lancaster Police Department, as she sees crime as an ongoing issue. 

She also wants to focus on education and literacy. She sees a more-literate community as one that has a better opportunity to thrive in today’s economy. 

“Getting people functional so that they can accept opportunities that come to the city,” Harris said. 

District 4

Jean Cureton

Cureton, a political newcomer, said she’s not happy with Lancaster's state, mainly when it comes to the economy. 

There are a lot of buildings in the city that an incoming business or corporation can use for operations. She mentions the Target store chain as an idea of an entity she’d like to see set up shop in Lancaster. 

Such a move would create several jobs, she said. 

“I see a lot that hasn’t been done,” Cureton said. “Why are so many people unemployed?” 

Cureton believes City Council needs to work together and put aside personal agendas, which she says are “hurting the city.” 

If elected, Cureton said she will look to see that more roads are repaved. She also wants to see the creation of a program to assist residents struggling with drug or alcohol addiction.  

If elected, she said she’ll be a visible councilwoman who’ll be able to communicate well with residents of all backgrounds. 

“I care about people,” she said. “I can reach all levels. I’m not above anybody.” 

Tamara Green Garris 

Garris, who’s in her first term, is proud of the community work she’s done over the past four years. 

She founded Lancaster Alternative Policing Strategy (LAPS), which has sponsored unity marches, candlelight vigils, back-to-school rallies and gun-buy-back programs. 

“You have to get out and touch people,” Garris said. “That’s when you find out what’s going on.” 

Another aim of LAPS is to strengthen relationships with police and everyday residents – a goal Garris said she will continue to work on if re-elected. 

Garris said she’s proud to have voted in favor of money to improve Brook Drive near University of South Carolina Lancaster, as well as renovation efforts at the Barr Street school. 

If given another four years, Garris wants to see a program created to help residents trying to expunge criminal records. The plan is to make community service part of the program. 

“I have been working in District 4 ever since I took my oath,” she said. “I would love the opportunity to serve for another four years.”  

 

Contact reporter Jesef Williams  at (803) 283-1152