The Bluegrass Politics Debate: Week 2

Jim Newberry during a mayoral forum at Awesome Inc. in Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, February 24, 2010. Photo by Matt Goins 9650
Jim Newberry during a mayoral forum at Awesome Inc. in Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, February 24, 2010. Photo by Matt Goins 9650 Lexington Herald-Leader

Welcome to the Bluegrass Politics Debate. Each week through the end of September, the candidates for mayor of Lexington and the 6th Congressional District will debate a topic chosen by the Lexington Herald-Leader. The candidates for U.S. Senate declined to participate in the debate.

The rules: The candidates ask and answer the questions. Questions are limited to 35 words. Answers are limited to 75 words. Rebuttals are limited to 35 words.Mayoral debate

The candidates: Mayor Jim Newberry and Vice Mayor Jim Gray

Week 2 topic: Public safety

Newberry's question for Gray: Since you have offered no public-safety legislation as vice mayor while supporting my public-safety budgets and pension-reform efforts, do you support training Lexington police officers to enforce federal immigration laws under 287(g)?

Gray's answer: I've sat next to you blocking and tackling to protect taxpayers for over three years; that's why I decided to run for mayor. I don't support your actions that make Lexington more vulnerable to crime and fire. On illegal immigration, Lexington has a responsibility to do everything possible to keep our people safe and keep lawbreakers out. My company follows the law, and we have a zero-tolerance policy for contractors who hire undocumented workers.

Newberry's rebuttal: The question was, do you support training Lexington police to enforce federal immigration laws under 287(g)? Leaders answer questions, you didn't. My team's record: fewer serious crimes in 2007-09 than any three-year period since 1974.

Gray's question for Newberry: Twice you overspent your fire department overtime budget, closed fire stations and flip-flopped on sending relief to Haiti; your jail is under constant investigation and litigation. Your poor management has compromised public safety. Explanation?

Newberry's answer: My management produced fewer serious crimes in 2007-09 than any other three-year period in LFUCG history! You voted for all my public-safety budgets. After calling a special council meeting, you did nothing on limited service reductions at fire stations. I authorized Haiti relief in less than one day. I instituted jail reforms to increase transparency and clean up litigation I inherited. In almost four years, as vice mayor, you've offered no public-safety initiatives.

Gray's rebuttal: In 2006, you promised to have 718 officers by 2010. Where are they? Fact: crime has risen for the past two years on your watch. Read my public safety plan at Jimgray.org/fssafety.html.6th District debateThe candidates: U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles, and Republican Andy Barr, a Lexington lawyer.

Week 2 topic: H.R. 1586, the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act

Barr's question for Chandler: With the $862 billion stimulus a clear failure and this $26 billion bailout of state governments not expected to create a single private-sector job, how many more bailouts will you support?

Chandler's answer: I proudly voted against the bailout of Wall Street and the big banks and would vote against similar bailouts in the future. I will continue to vote and work to save and create new jobs in Central Kentucky.

Barr's rebuttal: The stimulus you supported allowed Wall Street executives to receive millions in bonuses after receiving federal assistance. Since then, 3.3 million Americans have lost their jobs, and the unemployment rate has grown to 9.5 percent.

Chandler's question for Barr: How would you defend voting against the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act, which saved the jobs of 2,300 Kentucky teachers, prevented Kentucky jobs from being shipped overseas and will reduce the national debt?

Barr's answer: Within a period of only two years, the politicians in Washington have bailed out Wall Street, insurance companies, automobile companies and now state governments. This new $26 billion bailout will not create a single private-sector job, and it will postpone tough decisions while making states more dependent on the federal government. It's time to stop the bailouts, end the Washington spending spree and promote job creation through free enterprise.

Chandler's rebuttal: To call saving teachers' jobs a "bailout" is absurd. While I've been working to save jobs in the district's 16 counties, my opponent can't answer this question because he's guided by ideology instead of reality.

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