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Former Harrisburg Councilwoman kicks off mayoral campaign

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Former Harrisburg Councilwoman Gloria Martin-Roberts, a Democrat, kicks of her mayoral campaign at the National Civil War museum.

(Harrisburg) — Gloria Martin-Roberts officially entered the mayor’s race Monday with a kickoff at the National Civil War Museum.

Martin-Roberts, a Democrat and former councilwoman, says she picked the venue as a nod to the city’s history, but the museum and its finances have been a source of controversy for current Mayor Eric Papenfuse throughout his first term.

Martin-Roberts addressed about 100 supporters, focusing her message on building a unified city where all neighborhoods benefit from reinvestment and an improving quality of life – particularly when it comes to access to healthy food [] and public safety.

She talked briefly about how she would accomplish that.

“Promoting areas [like Uptown] in which we could place businesses, and working closely with businesses and industry to convince them they can expand outside the Midtown area and they will flourish,” she said.

Papenfuse, who owns the Midtown Scholar bookstore and several nearby properties, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Former police officer Jennie Jenkins, fired after investigators dropped embezzlement charges against her, declined comment Monday on her potential candidacy.

No one has filed any paperwork yet to seek re-election with the Dauphin County Bureau of Eleciotns and Voter Registration. Candidates can’t even start circulating nominating petitions until January.

Papenfuse’s 2013 war chest had about $37,000 remaining as of a year ago, county documents show.

Dan Miller, Papenfuse’s opponent during the last election, had about $4,300 on hand.

But Miller, now City Treasurer, was at Monday’s campaign event  in support of Martin-Roberts.

So was Council President Wanda Williams, who’s sparred frequently with Papenfuse in recent years.

Williams, Miller and Martin-Roberts were on council together several years ago, not long before when the city’s collapsing finances brought the municipality to the brink of bankruptcy and divided the governing body.

Miller, by that time City Controller, was vocal with favoring municipal bankruptcy. Martin-Roberts advocated state intervention, the ultimate course of the city.

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