Voters get early look at gubernatorial candidates - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Voters get early look at gubernatorial candidates

Hundreds pack the auditorium at Taylor Road Baptist Church for the Alabama Christian Coalition's Gubernatorial Forum. Hundreds pack the auditorium at Taylor Road Baptist Church for the Alabama Christian Coalition's Gubernatorial Forum.

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Primary elections are more than 10 months away,  but Monday, six gubernatorial hopefuls were on stage talking healthcare, education, and the economy.

Folks packed Taylor Road Baptist Church in East Montgomery to hear the five republicans and one democrat's positions on those key "hot button" issues.

First up?  Healthcare and the President's reform package.

The only democrat at the forum, U.S. Congressman Artur Davis says the plan is a "no go."

"If you're going to change 1/7 of the American economy which is healthcare, that shouldn't be done in a party-line brute force kind of way.   It needs to happen as part of a systematic conversation."

Then came the economy.  Three repulicans say improving Alabama's economy means helping businesses.

"We have to stimulate small business and existing business.   And we give the same tax breaks to those people as we do to businesses we recruit from out of state," says Republican candidate and State Representative Robert Bentley.

"The real sort of magic to creating jobs is to work with our existing industries that are already here to grow our sales base," says Republican candidate, Bill Johnson.

"I have confidence we can grow our way out of this problem.   We can't tax and regulate our way out of this problem.   We can grow our way out of it by having a very strong pro-business environment," says Republican candidate Bradley Byrne.

And then there's gambling--an emotional issue and deal-breaker for some voters, especially those in the religious community.

"I'm against gambling and there's a big push to add gambling and increase it in Alabama," says Republican candidate, Tim James.

"It has a devastating effect on our culture, and representative government, and I think that's what's missed," says Republican candidate Roy Moore.

Education was also mentioned. Some candidates say improving reading is the key to improving Alabama's education status.  The PACT program was mentioned as well.  Many candidates say the state needs to follow through on its commitment to families.

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