New look Lancaster council prioritizes safe streets, affordable housing


LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – At 36 years old, Amaday Bakay is the oldest of three new Lancaster councilors sworn in this week.

Xavier Garcia-Molina and Jamie Arroyo were also sworn in this week and represent a new-look city council.

All three of the new councilors ran on a unified platform to improve neighborhoods. Bakay said they plan on making good on that promise by specifically working for safe streets.

“Sometimes that might mean just getting to know your police officers better,” Bakay said. “It could also mean their street lights are working.”

The new diverse members say making sure Mayor Danene Sorace’s message of extending the downtown’s success into surrounding neighborhoods is important.

“When that hasn’t happened, it can feel like progress isn’t happening fast enough,” Bakay said.

Ismail Smith-Wade-El isn’t new to the council, but this week he was voted council president.

“We’ve had a strong institutional memory guiding council, and I think we’ve come to a moment where a progressive vision and some really dynamic energy from our councilors is important,” Smith-Wade-El said.

Smith-Wade-El told ABC27 News the council will make it a priority to work on affordable housing.

“We need to encourage developers to build in such a way that maximizes housing capacity without sacrificing quality,” he said.

Sorace is expected to give her expectations for the council when she makes her State of the City address on Jan. 28.

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