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April 19, 2007

Jeffersonville’s mayoral candidates talk issues, records at debate

NEW ALBANY — Both of Jeffersonville’s Democratic Party mayoral candidates are proud of their respective records. But on Wednesday night, each seemed more than eager to attack their opponent’s record.

The two candidates — Mayor Rob Waiz and former Mayor Tom Galligan — squared off at IU Southeast for a debate on various city issues. The event was a mixture of big plans, bum raps and plenty of good old fashion boastfulness.

Galligan said that during the years of 1996-2003 — when he was mayor — Jeffersonville saw a great spurt of growth. The reason, he said, was that he crafted a team of people that could get things done. Galligan said he and his team revitalized downtown, built the Jeffersonville Aquatic Center, the city’s Little League park and the roadway portion of Veterans Parkway.

Waiz, on the other hand, touted job growth with companies such as MedVenture and Steel Dynamics Inc. All totaled, about 2,200 new jobs have been created during the last three years, he said. Additionally, his administration has kept city government running efficiently, he said, and restored professionalism at City Hall.

“Jeffersonville’s future has never looked brighter and more promising,” he said.

Each candidate answered and rebutted questions from panelists during the debate. The following is a sampling of some of the issues raised:

What are the biggest challenges facing Jeffersonville?

At the top of the list for Galligan was Veterans Parkway — where retail and commercial development has been slow.

The city needs to put a team together to get development moving there and get people out to solicit various businesses to develop in the area, he said. Start with a good team — that’s how the city's riverfront became what it is today, he said.

Waiz felt that the annexation was the biggest issue. During the last year, city leaders have been working on a major annexation of about 7,800 acres to the north and northeast of the city.

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