Democratic candidates face off in 2019 Hartford mayoral debate

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HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Democratic candidates for Hartford’s 2019 mayoral race are faced live on News 8 on Thursday night.

The candidates include Hartford’s current mayor, Luke Bronin, Hartford’s former mayor, Eddie Perez, and state representative, Brandon McGee.

Below are the topics that were debated:

Development/future of the city

1: Without a major investment from the state, city, or a private investor, the future of the XL Center as a major attraction is in danger. What would you do, specifically, to keep the XL Center as a center for sports and entertainment? 

2: Many city developments coming to fruition today are the result of years or decades of planning. Ten years from now, what long-term development will people credit you with starting? 

3: More than 20 city department heads have left their posts during the current administration. How will you reduce the turnover and maintain a stable management team to deliver basic municipal services?

Bronin — We have some of the best staff and public servants. Create a leadership environment where people feel like they’re moving the city forward.

Jobs

1: New businesses are coming to Hartford, from the very small to Infosys, a global, information technology company creating 1,000 jobs downtown. Tell us a specific step you would take to find the next Infosys and bring it to Hartford.

2: Hartford has a shortage of actuaries. Aerospace and defense companies say they are struggling to find qualified workers. What would you do to make sure city residents are trained and qualified to apply for these careers?

Taxes/city finances

1: The city of Hartford operates under tight financial constraints, and its leaders have always had to prioritize. If your budget grew by $5 million, how would you spend it?

2: It’s far more likely that the next mayor will face tougher budgets. The city’s current three-year financial plan projects a budget gap of more than $1 million in 2020 and gaps of more than $2 million in 2021 and 2022. What would you cut to balance the city budget?

3: Half of city property is tax exempt, including state offices, college campuses, and hospitals. Would you support any of the following options to remedy that: Taxing universities. Taxing hospital property. Or encouraging the sale of state-owned office buildings to get them back onto Hartford’s tax rolls?

Crime

1: There have been several incidents recently that have undermined public support for the police department. What steps would you take to strengthen the trust the community has in the Hartford police force?

2: Crime has been trending down in Hartford, but gun violence continues to threaten city neighborhoods. July brought six homicides, and yesterday, a 17-year-old boy died of his injuries from a shooting that left three others wounded. What’s something new you would try to respond to Hartford’s violence?

Education

1: Governor Ned Lamont has made the recruitment of more minority teachers a priority in terms of his education policy. What would you do to attract more teachers of color to city classrooms?

2: Hartford schools have a lot of work ahead of them to raise academic standards, reduce chronic absenteeism and discipline, and create safer, more supportive schools. How would you work differently with the school board, the superintendent or others to reach those goals?

Sanctuary City

1: Do you think it is wise for Hartford to be a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants, setting up a potential conflict with federal law?

Lightning round

1: What figure from Connecticut history do you most admire?

2: Will you endorse the Democratic nominee? 

Closing statements

This stream is possible in partnership with the Hartford Courant.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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