City Council Candidate Biographies

Whether you’re attending our April 16 City Council Candidates Night or not, it’s important to know who’s running for City Council. We’ve compiled a short biography about each candidate:

Jeff Baltimore, a third generation Harrisburg resident and graduate of Shippensburg University, has held several prominent business, planning, and economic development positions in Harrisburg, York, and with the Commonwealth. Mr. Baltimore has worked with youth most of his adult life as a baseball coach and scout leader and recently began a nutrition and fitness start-up that teaches the body is a temple and emphasizes people of all ages should forever be student athletes. As Public Safety chair, Mr. Baltimore’s focus is to assist in the creation, support, development, and sustainability of programs and activities that engage youth. He believes academic, athletic, vocational, and entrepreneurial skills training are essential and a major deterrent to criminal activity.

Jeremiah Chamberlin is the youngest child of working class parents. In 2005, Mr. Chamberlin graduated from Penn State University with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a love for living in walkable neighborhoods. Mr. Chamberlin bought current his home in downtown Harrisburg in 2006. During his career as an engineer and project manager, Mr. Chamberlin  has gained experience in maintaining balanced budgets, achieving goals through compromise and solving complex problems with unique “outside the box” thinking. Mr. Chamberlin believes that strong community is important to the health of the City.  He serves as treasurer for his local neighborhood group, Capitol Area Neighbors.

Ron Chapel, a former state employee, studied political science at Wayne State University between two tours as a U.S. Marine, from which he was twice honorably discharged. For more than 15 years, Mr. Chapel has used the public comment period of City Council meetings and to speak against issues he believed were not in the City’s best interest, including the Harrisburg Strong Plan and the parking lease. Meanwhile, Mr. Chapel has been active in the NAACP, African-American Chamber of Commerce, and American Legion Post 733. Mr. Chapel wants to bring a new sense of pride the City to help it combat unsafe streets, blight, joblessness, and helplessness.

Destini Hodges, born and raised on Allison Hill, received the most votes in the primary election when elected to the School Board in 2011. A voice for the students, Ms. Hodges initiated the discussion for student Board representatives. Ms. Hodges graduated from Harrisburg High School’s Sci-Tech Campus. She then attended HACC and graduated from Penn State Harrisburg with a B.A. in political science, where she was a member of the Black Student Union and the Youth and College Division of the NAACP. Currently pursuing a graduate degree in community and regional planning, Ms. Hodges is involved in the community as cofounder of Harrisburg Hope and diversity coordinator for the Presbyterian Women of Carlisle.

Cornelius Johnson is a Harrisburg native, a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University with two Bachelor of Science degrees in Toxicology and General Science, and serves as the head of the Health Department for Susquehanna Township. In addition, Mr. Johnson is pursuing his master’s degree in Public Administration from Shippensburg University. Finally, Mr. Johnson is actively engaged in the community, serving . He serves as a cluster leader for the Camp Curtin YMCA Teen Achievers Program, is a member of Harrisburg Young Professionals, and is a member of the Greater Harrisburg Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Development Institute.

Brad Koplinski has been on Harrisburg City Council since 2008. He has chaired both the Community and Economic Development and the Budget and Finance committees. In those capacities, Mr. Koplinski helped encourage smart investment in our neighborhoods and insure that the Administration is held to account on budgetary issues.  Having served during three separate mayoral administrations, he has remained an independent voice for the people of our city.  He remains committed to helping reduce crime and blight, as well as encouraging businesses to come to Harrisburg and making sure the quality of life in our City remains high.

Westburn Majors, a native of Harrisburg, is the oldest son of Merry-Grace and the late Gary “Big Wes” Majors. Mr. Majors is a proud product of Harrisburg City schools and a graduate of Bishop McDevitt High School. After high school, Mr. Majors furthered his education by earning degrees from both Lincoln and Penn State University. Since 2008, Mr. Majors has worked in government relations on a wide range of public policy issues with a diverse group of decision makers and elected officials. In the community, Mr. Majors has served on the Harrisburg Authority since 2010, volunteers with the Harrisburg Basketball Booster Club, is a member of the Harrisburg Young Professionals, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., and work with Major Preparation, a non-profit created by his family to help serve the city’s youth.

Rhonda Mays, a graduate of Harrisburg School District and Howard University (B.A.-political science/business administration), has three decades’ experience working for federal, state, and local governments. Ms. Mays is a former member of the Harrisburg School Board and Historic Harrisburg Association Board. Currently, Ms. Mays is the Dauphin County Democratic Committeeperson of the City’s 7th Ward, 2nd Precinct, Board member of the Fair Housing Council of the Capital Region, and member of Camp Curtin Memorial-Mitchell UMC and its Preservation and Restoration Committee.

Ellis R. Rick Roy is a lifetime resident of Harrisburg and continues to be committed to public service. Prior to becoming a police officer with the Harrisburg Police Bureau, Mr. Roy served as a community relations/civilian employee for the Police Bureau. During his tenure as police officer, Mr. Roy was very active with youth clubs and events.  Mr. Roy served more than 25 years with the Bureau of Police and retired as a Lieutenant/Commander. Currently, Mr. Roy is the Dauphin County Democratic Committeeman for the 10th Ward, 2nd Precinct, and Chair of the Harrisburg Civil Service Commission.

Pat Stringer, city resident of 42 years, is a homeowner in the Melrose Gardens neighborhood of Allison Hill. Ms. Stringer has served the public in several federal, state, and City positions, including one term on City Council, where she voted “no” for the 2003 incinerator bond funding that led to receivership and chaired the Building and Housing and Public Works committees. Ms. Stringer has also served on the City Human Relations Commission, Vacant Property Revitalization Board, Police Review Board, and Harrisburg Strong Task Force. Ms. Stringer has volunteered for many local organizations, is a graduate of the City and State citizens police Academies and won the 2014 Capital Region United Way Volunteer of the Year Award and 2014 MLK Leadership Development Institute Foot Soldier Award.