Candidate profile: Harrisburg Mayor Thompson states case for 4 m - abc27 WHTM

Dauphin County

Candidate profile: Harrisburg Mayor Thompson states case for 4 more years

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Four Democrats are on the primary election ballot for Harrisburg mayor. We conclude our profiles of those candidates by talking with current Mayor Linda Thompson.

"We don't have time to change the course of direction in its leadership," she told us Thursday. "We have a strong mayor. I'm very smart. I have perspective. I have skills."

Thompson served as a city council member, as city council president, and four years ago she upset long-time incumbent Mayor Stephen Reed in the Democratic primary.

In the last four years she says her administration has done the heavy lifting in cutting costs, having to do more with less.

"We've reduced our personnel down by 20 percent and our absolutely non-essential operational costs by 10 percent," Thompson said. "We've streamlined departments, collapsed them...got rid of all our middle management."

Thompson has been on board with the concept of the state-appointed receiver coming in to devise a recovery strategy that does not include bankruptcy. But even though she opposes bankruptcy, she feels the burden of recovery should not be dumped solely on the taxpayers.

"Everyone has some responsibility in how we got here. And that's why everyone has to have some responsibility in solving it...from A-G-M, our creditors, the county, city government itself, the unions," Thompson said.

The mayor says her administration has made good in-roads on fighting crime and has created many new jobs and businesses.

Now she would like to work with state legislators to allow her to institute revenue-raising measures like a sales tax or a drink tax, which would take some of the burden off of residents.

"If we get that one percent drink tax that would allow us to go forward and allow us to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars that would be added to keep the taxes low," she said.

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