Yesterday morning at WMOX radio, Democratic Percy Bland, Republican Bill Compton Jr., and Independent Dustin Markham, all took to the mic to share their views if elected mayor.
“When we took office, the unemployment rate was over 10.5 percent, and right now the city is down to under five,” said Bland.
The candidates talked about low voter turnout, their desire to see upgrades at the county courthouse, and the city’s fight against drugs. Bland and Markham expressed their ability to work across party lines, while Compton touted his loyalty to the Republican Party.
“We need a Republican mayor and we need a Republican city council. I just again want to ask the Republicans to vote Republican. I am the only Republican candidate running for office, and I just love watching these Democrats tear each other up.”
The conversation got a little bit heated when candidates started talking about who the city awards building contracts to.
“We have complaints from businesses all over the city who call their councilmembers for help because they’re tired of seeing people get the same contracts,” said Markham.
Bland responded, “The council has to vote for everything that goes forward. They have voted for those things. They know that the mayor staff does everything open and by state procurement laws. He knows that, so this is more political than anything else.”
Markham even questioned the competency of current city department heads.
“We have a community development director that’s a former fireman. He has no engineering degree, no community development degree, no urban renewal degree.”
In regards to targeting crime, the forum wrapped up with Bland commending the police department, while Markham pushed for fixing issues within the department. Compton became a bit emotional.
“I don’t see crime statistics. I see the faces of students that I taught. The smiling, happy faces of children who are going out into the world to face a lack of opportunity. That hurts me.”