Montgomery mayoral, city council candidates take part in forum hosted by WSFA

Candidates for Montgomery mayor and multiple city council seats took part in the forum.
Published: Aug. 3, 2023 at 3:59 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2023 at 7:56 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Montgomery residents will make their decision on who will be the city’s next mayor and who will hold multiple city council seats on Aug. 22. Incumbent Mayor Steven Reed was joined Thursday evening at the WSFA Montgomery Candidate Election Forum by three opponents who want to succeed him in office.

Reed’s opponents include Victorrus Felder, Marcus McNeal, and Barrett Gilbreath. Each discussed what they want to bring to the city if they’re to be the next mayor.

All four candidates agreed that crime was a pressing issue in Montgomery but had different ways to address it.

“We need to get our community centers back open. We need to offer in-home programs through those community centers and also through our charitable organizations that are already working in the communities because they have a better opportunity to reach these kids younger and have an impact in the home,” said Gilbreath.

Felder had a similar answer but added that police officers need to “engage more with the children in the community.” He explained, “we need to have young kids want to be police officers again.”

McNeal had a different take on how to address crime, saying there needs to be change within the school system in Montgomery.

“We have to take a hard look at why they are not succeeding at our education system, why they’re not graduating, why we have 18-year-olds sitting in multiple grades in our school system,” McNeal asked.

Reed said the city has to continue to invest in public safety to address crimes, mentioning that his administration has invested a lot of money into law enforcement.

“We’ve also increased pay raises,” Reed said, “We’ve also implemented retention and recruitment bonuses to make lateral transfers a lot easier.”

Candidates from seven of the nine city council races were also at the 3-hour forum, which was broadcast on WSFA’s website, app, and social media channels in partnership with Faith in Action Alabama, One Montgomery, The League of Women Voters, and the Metro Montgomery County NAACP.

The forum took place in the auditorium at the Alabama Department of Archives and History in front of a public audience.

You can go back and watch any of the forum segments in the video below.

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