COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A heavy debate took place Tuesday evening between those running to be the next mayor of Columbus.
The candidates expressed their views during a one-hour forum at Columbus State University. All of the candidates aimed to convince a half-full auditorium, as well as the entire city, of why they should be the next mayor of the Fountain City.
"Net zero new jobs in the past 30 years. Let that sink in just for a little bit. Whatever has been going on is not working. What we need is a leader," says candidate Danny Arencibia.
"We can engage the community with policing rapport and building relationships. That might be able to head off some of these violent acts," explained candidate Skip Henderson.
"We have to look for signs of the gangs that are here. There are 15 gangs here in Columbus. Take them off the streets," says candidate Charles Roberts.
Some of the questions that were asked during this debate ranged from different topics like how to solve crime in Columbus, how to properly manage the city's budget, and even how to bring more jobs to the city.
"It's a shame that we have so many officers that are leaving here. Safety is first and foremost," says candidate Winfred Shipman.
"We need at least 85 more officers. We need a gang task force. It is important because 90 percent of the murders and violent crimes are committed by gang members. We understand and we know who they are. They are the gangster disciples and the ghostface gangsters," explained candidate Zeph Baker.
"The purpose of government is to preserve the well-being of its citizens. We have veered off that course and it's going to take all of us to put this ship back on course," says candidate Beth Harris.
Early voting is underway now. The polls open on May 22.