A closer look at Lancaster’s mayor race candidates: Danene Sorace and Willie Shell

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LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — Two candidates are vying for Lancaster’s top job, incumbent Danene Sorace and businessman Willie Shell. We spoke to both ahead of next week’s election. For Sorace, who’s been on the job since 2018, it hasn’t exactly been a walk in the park.

“Where we are today is better than we were four years ago but for a pandemic,” Mayor Danene Sorace said.

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Mayor Sorace says the pandemic complicated some of the work she set out to do. She inherited a city in financial disarray and a police department in need of an overhaul.

“I think we’re stronger as it relates to community and police relations and the after-effects of the killing of George Floyd,” Sorace said.

Including the neighborhood engagement initiatives her administration undertook, which she attributes as one of her biggest accomplishments. 

So what’s on top of the to-do list for Sorace if she gets to keep her job?

“7.3 miles. There’s no way we’re going build all the affordable housing that is needed in our county,” she added.

Sorace says she’d use a portion of the nearly 40-million in COVID relief funds to address those concerns, and— to continue to attract workers and maintain the labor pool.

To do that, she’ll have to defeat Willie Shell, a longtime Lancaster resident.

“I have lived in this community for over 40 years and I’ve seen this city go through many changes. Some good, some bad,” said Willie Shell, candidate for Lancaster mayor. 

While he thinks the city as a whole is doing better, Shell feels some neighborhoods have been left behind.

“The Southeast has not been given the same attention as other parts of the city. For example, we have houses that are condemned.  We have streets that haven’t been paved in the last 40 years,” Willie Shell said.

So what would Shell do differently as mayor?

“Infrastructure, jobs, street cleaning, police, have a better relationship with the police,” Shell said.

His goal is to be mayor for all.

“Dr. King has always said that unless we all grow together then we all perish as fools,” he added.

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