Louisville, KY - By Matt McCutcheon - e-mail | bio
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - What's the future hold for Louisville? Perhaps the best person to ask would be one of the two people likely to be in charge of the city after the November election.
On Thursday morning, June 24, many people got a chance to hear from the two candidates. For about an hour at The Olmstead, Republican Hal Heiner and Democrat Greg Fischer shared their plans for the future if they win the city's top job.
Overwhelmingly, the topics either focused on or could be traced back to one theme: jobs.
"The most important issue facing our community is job growth," Fischer said in the early part of the debate.
"You need to judge the next administration on how they've grown jobs in Louisville, Kentucky," Heiner said.
So how do they plan to gain jobs? Both argue their background will help.
"I'd bring my business experience and job attraction and my public service on metro council to help win new jobs," Heiner said.
"I'm an entrepreneur that has created multiple jobs and over 1,000 local jobs," Fischer pointed out.
Fisher says he'll bring those skills to the mayor's office. Both candidates feel that a change in operations is needed in city government; in fact, they both feel it's standing in the way of job creation.
"Louisville certainly is a leader when it comes to red tape in the planning and development process. We have an arrogant culture: you keep submitting, until you make me – government – happy," Heiner said.
"Under my administration I will insist on a customer focus and proactive problem solving approach for the good development opportunities," Fischer said.
A big opportunity some may say is legalizing more gambling in the commonwealth. It appears Heiner doesn't want to decide; while Fischer seems to be a cheerleader for it, saying without it we lose half-a-billion dollars a year.
"Our social services suffer while our educational system suffers, while we could be providing more security and public safety to our community as we send these tax dollars to our adjoining states. I just think its ridiculous and the mayor should be an advocate for expanded gambling," Fischer said.
"I say put it on the ballot, let the people decide, and let's get on with other issues," Heiner said.
Both candidates agree that far too much tax money goes to Frankfort -- and never returns to the metro area.
That's another issue they want to see changed.
Building bridges is another issue that will come up in the next administration, but how to pay for it remains a sticking point.