Democratic candidates clash at Dallas County Forum

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

SELMA, AL (WSFA) - The finger pointing started early as Democratic gubernatorial candidates Ron Sparks and Artur Davis took the stage at the Selma Performing Arts Center.  The two met during a forum organized by the Dallas County Democratic Executive Committee.

"Congressman, for somebody to criticize somebody else for the job that they've only been in Washington half of the time and voted half of the time for your constituents" said Ron Sparks of Davis' voting record.

Davis replied to Sparks' comments by saying, "You [Sparks] tried to dust up a little bit of smoke, and I wish you would learn how to better research my legislative records so you wouldn't get it wrong as often as you do."

Both questioned each other's claims about healthcare, jobs, and gambling--all topics voters wanted answers to.

"I know of people that don't have insurance.  Some of the young people that don't have jobs  and everything.  They need healthcare.  They need some type of healthcare," says Dallas County resident Margaret Fails.

Concerns over Congressman Davis' "No" vote on the president's healthcare reform bill was at the top of the list.

"I thought about it, and wondered why did he do that," adds Fails.

"I voted against it because I thought it was the right thing to do because I thought it was the wrong bill," Davis answered.

But perhaps equally important were questions regarding employment in Dallas County.

"I have a road plan--$400 billion dollars--to start building roads, put people back to work," said Sparks.

"I've laid out a detailed plan to grow jobs in Alabama, to go after jobs we haven't had before, to protect existing industries and to raise the wage base in the state," says Davis.

But does the answer lie in gambling?  The candidates say it just might.

"Tax it...expand it," says Sparks.

"It's my opinion that we need to have a straight up or down vote," adds Davis.

Despite the heated debate, Congressman Davis says if Sparks wins the primary, he'll support him in the general election.

Sparks says he'll do the same for Davis.

The Alabama Republican Party hopes to hang on to the Governor's office.  There are 7 candidates running.

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