Meet The Candidates Forum held in Paducah

On Tuesday, taxpayers listened in on how candidates want to improve Paducah. The NAACP and the Paducah Human Rights Commission hosted a “Meet the Candidates” Forum.

Each candidate had a minute to introduce themselves followed by three questions to answer, like "How do you see Paducah in ten years?" or whether to renovate or rebuild Paducah City Hall —an issue the three candidates at the Robert Cherry Civic Center could agree on Tuesday. Current Mayor Gayle Kaler, Buzz Vontesmar, and Arthur Baskin said they feel $18 million is a lot of money to spend on city hall issues. The candidates mentioned looking at other options or discussing the decision with the community more.

 A third question they were asked was about the success of the Fountain Avenue redevelopment project and what area they thought Paducah should see redeveloped next.

“I am not sure that we actually need to do another neighborhood. Maybe we need to do something different, like create more parks within our neighborhoods, create more things that make people want to move to different sections of town, create more things that make our neighborhood lively. We have a lot of vacant lots that we could open up to development,” Kaler said.

“I  think a lot of this money should be going to the development of our riverfront to make it more tourist friendly, more attractive, because it would lead to several other things —the growth of our community, instead of building pretty houses. When you build a pretty downtown, those people move here and they will build the pretty houses,” Vontesmar said.

“Fountain Avenue was a great start, but there are other places in the city of Paducah that could definitely use some help. Some of the other neighborhoods that definitely need some revitalization. And if I can, I would definitely like to work on those and get those back up to standard and be beautiful, because Paducah’s a wonderful city,” Baskin said.

Mayoral candidate Brandi Harless could not make it Tuesday night. She’s out of town this week with the Delta Regional Authority Leadership Academy. She joined as an attempt to bring more resources to Paducah. They travel every other month to a delta region city, and this time they’re in Selma, Alabama.

Louis Elliot Polach said Tuesday he’s still running for mayor. He couldn’t make it Tuesday because of a previous volunteer commitment with Paducah’s Salvation Army.

The mayoral candidates will be narrowed down to two after the votes come in from the May 17 primary.

Tuesday, state representative and commission candidates spoke as well.

We’ve attached video of State Representative District 1 candidates Gerald Watkins and Joni Hogancamp as well as comments from District 2’s candidate Michael Murphy.

We’ve also attached comments from each of the candidates for commissioner running in this order: Frank Bennett, Allan Rhodes, Edwin Jones, Tracy Jones, Raynarldo Henderson, Sarah Holland, Anne Gwinn, Vicky Holland, Brandon Duncan, and Richard Abraham. Sandra Wilson was out of town.

These candidates will compete for four spots narrowed down to eight after the May 17 primary.

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