After winning the Mayoral Democratic Primary in May, Danene Sorace talks to FLL about what makes her tick, her priorities for the City of Lancaster and the upcoming general election. This is the first in a series.
FLL: What do people frequently say about you?
DS: That I like to get things done. It is important to be able to show results, and when you can’t, or things don’t go as planned, to be accountable. I’m also not consumed with who gets the credit, which is also important. I’ve come to understand that there is little in life that is worthwhile all because of one person.
FLL: Where did this desire to get things done come from?
DS: My parents. They instilled in me a strong work ethic – and this served me well. People noticed that I got work done and it opened doors to new opportunities that I would not have otherwise had.
FLL: What is your biggest priority for City of Lancaster?
Our neighborhoods. I won’t consider my work done until our neighborhoods are strong. As the economic development focus moves from downtown into our neighborhoods, we must work differently. This means that residents come first. Improvements cannot be “top down” but must respect the voices of the community, their priorities, hopes and desires. There is some amazing work already happening and I’m ready to lean into these efforts.
FLL: What is your plan to address poverty?
Thirty percent of our city lives below the poverty line. This is not acceptable. Fortunately, a lot of dedicated individuals and organizations spent 14 months working on a plan to move the needle on poverty in the City. Today, the Lancaster County Coalition to Combat Poverty is working on implementing those recommendations. A key area that I’m personally invested in is workforce development.
Our unemployment rate is 14 percent. Among the poor, it is nearly 30 percent. Those who are employed may be working two or three jobs to make ends meet. I’d like to see them working one, which means they are making a living wage, they have time to spend with their families, and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
To do this, we need to come together as a community. There is something wrong when major employers in the County are not expanding because they can’t meet their labor needs, while we have so many potential employees in the city. This doesn’t compute. We need to do better at connecting hard-working individuals to additional training or access to childcare or transportation to get ahead.