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3 Dauphin County commissioners will run again, with Bowman also vying for seat

Posted 1/23/19

All three Dauphin County commissioners — Jeff Haste, Mike Pries and George P. Hartwick III — will run for re-election.

Republicans Haste and Pries announced their re-election …

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3 Dauphin County commissioners will run again, with Bowman also vying for seat

Posted

All three Dauphin County commissioners — Jeff Haste, Mike Pries and George P. Hartwick III — will run for re-election.

Republicans Haste and Pries announced their re-election campaign last week, promising to “keep moving in the right direction.’’ Hartwick, a Democrat, made his announcement Tuesday at several locations in the county. He also introduced his running mate — Diane Bowman, a former Susquehanna Township commissioner and longtime community advocate.

Haste was appointed to the board in 2002 and was re-elected in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015. Pries, a former Derry Township supervisor, was appointed in 2010 and won elections in 2011 and 2015.

Hartwick entered politics in his early 20s, when he was elected mayor of Steelton, making him the youngest mayor in Pennsylvania at that time. He is running for a fifth term, having won in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015.

“We have made fiscal responsibility a top priority for our county and are proud to say that we have not raised county property taxes for the past 14 straight years,’’ Haste said.

The Republicans made the announcement at Detweiler Park — the county’s newest and largest park — “because deciding what to do with this property will be an important goal for the future and one in which all residents will have a say,” Haste said.

They touted the recent linking of the 20-mile Greenbelt to Fort Hunter Park. Pries highlighted the nearly $68.7 million in Hollywood Casino gaming revenue invested in Dauphin County.

“Local governments would have had to spend millions in property tax dollars to pay for the equipment for firefighters and police, infrastructure projects and vital human service programs these grants funded,’’ Pries said. “These grants brought in an amazing $340 million in additional investments to our communities and helped to create more than 10,000 jobs.’’

Haste and Pries also emphasized:

• Dauphin County is the first to take advantage of new state law to green-light a Land Bank and Infrastructure Bank. The Land Bank allowed for the renovation of eyesores and the elimination of blight, from disused mill property in Steelton to creating new homes in Susquehanna Township. The Infrastructure Bank has made possible the repair of intersections and roads.

• New programs at the county’s Judicial Center are finding non-jail alternatives for low-risk offenders, as well as coordinating addiction treatment and other services with either those going to jail or under supervised release. Consolidating operations with the adjacent prison saved $500,000 in 2018 and a projected $800,000 this year.

• In another first-of-its-kind initiative, Haste and Pries created the Municipal Bridge Program, which uses state transportation-related funds to cover 40 percent of a municipality’s cost to repair or replace its bridges and offer low interest loans through the county’s infrastructure bank to cover the rest.

Hartwick also pointed to his work in holding the line on property taxes for 14 years while expanding services to what he called “our most vulnerable residents” — children and families, those suffering from addiction, and the  senior population.

“Diane shares my commitment to uplifting all our residents,’’ Hartwick said. ‘’She has the experience and work ethic to ensure we continue moving forward.’’

Bowman is the former executive director of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and former chairwoman of the Dauphin County Democratic Committee.

“I look forward to providing my work experience as an auditor for the Pennsylvania auditor general to bring accountability in government and the much-needed protections for every resident including the LGBTQ community as I was able to do as president of the Susquehanna Township Board of Commissioners with the passage of a non-discrimination ordinance in 2011,” Bowman said.

Recently, Hartwick spearheaded efforts to reform the county’s criminal justice system and provide treatment rather than jail cells for those who pose no threat to themselves or others.

Hartwick has worked on diversity efforts in the county, helping revamp hiring practices and launching an annual multicultural festival and committee, he said.

He also touted his work to attract jobs, tourism and investment to the county; and his work on drug courts and mental health courts. 

He said his approach to the rapidly escalating heroin and opioid crisis has emphasized having counselors meet with overdose victims in emergency rooms to smooth the transition to immediate treatment.

He also mentioned his work to ensure that all county-owned bridges are no longer structurally deficient and his efforts with the land bank and infrastructure bank, as well as the Elder Abuse Task Force to combat financial abuse, neglect and exploitation of older Pennsylvanians. 

“My hometown was a true melting pot that taught me how to survive tough times, think on my feet and work harder than the next guy,” Hartwick said of Steelton.