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Papenfuse launches re-election campaign

Written by Emily Previti, epreviti | Jan 12, 2017 1:28 AM
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Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse before his re-election campaign kickoff. (Emily Previti/WITF)

{Harrisburg --} Mayor Eric Papenfuse is running for re-election.

Papenfuse kicked off his campaign Wednesday at the same headquarters he used for his 2013 run: in a building he owns across the street from his Midtown Scholar Bookstore.

Papenfuse's challenger for the Democratic primary, former Councilwoman Gloria Martin-Roberts, has criticized him for diverting city resources to Midtown and the Capitol complex area, ignoring neighborhoods battling blight, poverty and crime.

Papenfuse dismissed the accusations when asked about them during a news conference.

"They're not correct on their face," he said. "They're preposterous on their face. I care about the whole city and I always have. No one's brought more money for Allison Hill or South Allison Hill or anything else."

Papenfuse highlighted accomplishments, too: lower crime rates, millions of dollars in grants and an improved relationship with City Council, citing smooth budget negotiations this year.

He also publicly announced he'd start commenting on the record to PennLive again after a six-month hiatus he says began as a protest over anonymous comments and sensationalism on the website.

The embargo started after stories ran questioning the fact that city officials were targeting a bar near several of Papenfuse's properties.

The situation got a lot of attention at the time, in part because it paralleled President-elect Trump's own media restrictions on the campaign trail.

Papenfuse has said the matter was overblown and pledged Wednesday to reinstate weekly press briefings formerly open to all reporters that ceased around the same time.

Editor Cate Barron noted Wednesday that she's surprised at the development because the mayor recently declined an invitation to meet with the editorial board.

Barron also stood by the online commenting policy and said it won't change anytime soon. Read their full post here.

Published in Harrisburg, News

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