Harrisburg mayoral candidates square off in debate - abc27 WHTM

Harrisburg mayoral candidates square off in debate

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Election Day is just a month away and one of the bigger races on the ballot locally will be for Harrisburg mayor.

The three candidates currently on the ballot appeared Thursday night at the HACC campus in a debated hosted by the group Harrisburg Hope.

The candidates were asked how they felt about the Harrisburg Strong recovery plan.

Republican candidate Dan Miller said it's not fair to the residents.

"Watch out for our earned income taxes," he said. "It's going to skyrocket. All of our taxes are going to skyrocket because the only concessions made have been made by the citizens and the people of Harrisburg."

But Democrat Eric Papenfuse said it's the best option.

"It's a brief window of opportunity that if we seize and if we have the right leadership, we can make the most of the opportunity and we can bring Harrisburg back," Papenfuse said.

Independent candidate Lewis Butts once again advised building a hydroelectric dam on the Susquehanna river.

"Obama will pay for a hydroelectric dam," he said. "The river never stops. We're looking at our natural resources to gain an upper hand on our revenue."

Papenfuse went on the offensive against Miller on a few occasions.

"You have no support on City Council," said Papenfuse. "No support amongst the receiver, the receivers' office, little support amongst the business community."

"Frankly I have lots of support in the community," Miller said, "lots of support in the business community, too."

One of the residents asked if Papenfuse would feel indebted to any big donors. Developer Alex Hartzler has been reported to be a heavy donor to his campaign. Miller jumped on that.

"If you look at his contributions, 78 percent of his contributions came from one man, or the PAC that one man formed," Miller said. "Eric Papenfuse is clear as bought and paid for."

"I am beholden to no one," said Papenfuse. "I am by far the largest donor to my own campaign ... would never promise anyone any quid pro quo for anything."

Former Independent candidate Nevin Mindlin was also invited to attend but declined. He is appealing a judge's ruling that kept him off the ballot because of a problem with his nomination petition.


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