Ismail Smith-Wade-El is running for a representative position in the upcoming elections. Photo courtesy of Michelle Johnsen Photography
Here at Millersville University, the student population consists of many different types of people. The university is great in that way, and recently, the borough of Millersville became a part of a new district in Lancaster County.
Millersville is now in the HD-49 district. The HD-49 district is a part of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Ismail Smith-Wade-El – locally called Izzy – is hoping to be elected to the position of representative in the coming election, which takes place May 17. The house is one of the two chambers in the state government, alongside the state Senate. The individual elected will be representing about 60 thousand people for a two-year term. Izzy hopes to win this election and become that representative.
Izzy, the current city council president of Lancaster City, calls Lancaster his home. He is also the son of the late Rita Smith-Wade-El, formerly a Millersville University faculty member whose time here inspired the creation of our intercultural center on campus. When asked about her, Izzy had this to say:
“I like to say that my mother taught me to format APA citations and throw a punch, both of which are true, but really she had this thing that she always told me was you never go looking for a fight, but if you have to, don’t go into a fight alone.”
When it comes to his campaign, Izzy said “Lancaster is my home, and what I love about the new district, the new HD-49. It is the definition of what this community is; that actually comports very well with my lived experience.”
Izzy is running on a platform of change. Change in the sense that policy needs to change in a multitude of different issues. These include housing, education, justice, public safety, worker’s rights, healthcare for everyone, climate action, LGBTQ+ rights, returning power to local governments, cannabis decriminalization, and reproductive rights and healthcare.
“What I’m saying to voters is, if you want to not go into that fight alone, elect me and I will be a friend in the fight.” Izzy is a staunch advocate for the rights of the people. He feels that there needs to be a fundamental change in how the system works. Izzy is incredibly passionate about fighting homelessness and believes housing is a right of everyone.
When asked what he would do to fight homelessness if elected, Izzy had this to say:
“So the first is going to be increasing the funds that flow into the community from entities like the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. What a lot of us have found is that we struggle to move people out of the shelter and through the systems that exist to kind of rehouse people, because there’s no housing stock at the end.”
In Millersville, there are a couple of places to vote, but to find the exact place, students can go to vote.pa to find a lot of helpful information about where and how to vote as well as how to vote by mail. The election takes place on May 17.