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Tony Dastra takes part in a mayoral candidate forum at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology on Thursday, March 16, 2017.

Tony Dastra says he wants to offer Lancaster city an alternative to the two-party system that dominates American politics.

The young man announced his candidacy for mayor on Wednesday, becoming the fifth declared candidate and sole independent.

"I believe local government is the most powerful government," he said. 

His slogan, he said, is “Power to the people.” His campaign is built around the three principles of sustainability, equality and transparency, forming the acronym "SET."

He advocates better representation for Lancaster’s citizens and thinks electing City Council members by ward, rather than using at-large system, would help. He is a strong proponent of affordable education, especially in the trades. Having more tradespeople equipped to rehab the city's housing stock will help bolster the economy and grow the tax base, he said. 

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He wants the city to make all public documents available online, to livestream public meetings and, in general, to be as open as possible.

He defines sustainability broadly, encompassing not only environmental measures but also financial prudence.

His campaign logo features his trademark tan fedora. He has made a regular practice of attending and livestreaming City Council meetings.

Dastra, 20 (he turns 21 in August), is a lifelong Lancastrian, residing on Plum Street. He is a shift manager at a local Starbucks and is completing a bachelor’s degree in political science via Arizona State University’s distance learning program.

He previously studied at Lebanon Valley College and Temple University.

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