Democratic mayoral candidates debated the issues before a radio audience Wednesday. This time, one of Meridian's largest employers chimed in.
Listeners to the WMOX morning show listened for about an hour as the four Democrats vying to be the next mayor of Meridian used the air waves to push their ideas.
"I not only have a plan, but I know how to make it happen," said Casandra Sloan.
"I am asking you to vote for experience, because during the hard economic times, you need someone in who knows how government works," Joe Norwood said.
"I'm going to be straight with the people," said Percy Bland. "I am going to unite and built consensus."
"I will create opportunities, hopefully through gambling," said William Compton. "We need to look at this seriously; there is nothing else out there."
Candidates took questions by several methods such as email, phone calls, even Twitter, but the most pressing question came from one of Meridian's largest employers, Hartley Peavey.
In a faxed note, Peavey, CEO of Peavey Electronics headquartered in Meridian, noted that the candidates continue discussing job creation. But Peavey said he wants to know what their plans are to keep the jobs Meridian already has. He went on to say that local leaders have squandered millions and millions of dollars on industries that promise jobs, but later show little or no results.
"We would want to help those business owners expand out by offering them incentives to those businesses here and to keep their families here," Bland said.
"I do believe we should take care of our own before we go out to market to get new businesses," said Sloan. "However, I don't believe we are in the position at this time to market Meridian. I think we have to do some things first, like work on our education system and work on our infrastructure.
"For our existing industry, we have to make sure we invest in the community college and make sure that they have the proper facilities there, because they are the best we have to have a trained work force," Norwood said.
"We need to do something for ourselves," said Compton. "Casino gambling would be doing something for ourselves. We would owe no one anything."
The next mayoral forum is set for Thursday at 7 p.m. at the EMEPA auditorium on Highway 39 in Meridian. It's sponsored by the Meridian-Lauderdale County NAACP.
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