Mayoral candidates square off in first debate

Mayoral candidates square off in first debate
Mayor Greg Fischer and Metro Councilwoman Angela Leet

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Mayor Greg Fischer (D-Louisville) and his Republican challenger, Metro Councilwoman Angela Leet, laid out their two very different visions for the city during a debate on Monday evening.

Mayoral candidates describe plans for Louisville in first debate

Fischer, the incumbent, reminded the public of his accomplishments. Leet said the city could do better with a change in leadership. There was also an independent mayoral candidate in attendance who didn’t make the cut to debate.

The first question of the night was whether the candidates would keep Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad.

Fischer said he has full confidence in Conrad. He boasted of a homicide decrease of 22% in 2018.

Leet said that’s not enough and said she would fire Conrad.

“He wouldn’t give us the full truth and the full story of what was happening in our community and as you get other information revealed to you it makes you realize we need to go a different direction,” Leet said. “This would set our community back on the right course so that we can have growth.”

Leet said population growth is slow in Louisville. She believes marketing the city’s low cost of living and strong manufacturing jobs is the way to attract talent.

Fischer said programs like Code Louisville and Software Guild are developing local workers for high-demand fields.

“When my administration started we were still in the great recession,” Fischer said. “We said we were going to focus on jobs. Obviously 80,000 news jobs, 2,600 new businesses, and $13 billion of capital investment in our city shows our city is coming a long way.”

The panel asked what should be done about the sewer system.

Fischer claimed a rate hike could solve the issue faced by an aging infrastructure. Leet said an audit needs to be done before throwing any more money at MSD.

An independent candidate said the core of many of the city’s problems are the same issues he’s been running on for the past two elections.

“What’s different is the public is beginning to understand that climate change is something that we have to deal with," Independent candidate Jackie Green said. "We are ignoring it and we have our heads in the sand. It’s time to get our heads out of the sand and get to work.”

There will be one more debate before the November election. WAVE 3 News will host it in October.

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