Mayoral race heating up

By Nicole Schladt

Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry and Lexington Vice Mayor Jim Gray participated in a mayoral debate in the Student Center Small Ballroom Wednesday, sounding off on topics ranging from the conditions of neighborhoods surrounding UK to the recent cases of violence on campus.

The debate was moderated by Richard Heine, a member of the League of Women Voters of Lexington, and UK Student Government Vice President Kelsey Hayes.

“It was great to have (the debate) on our home turf,” Hayes said.

The Lexington League of Women Voters, the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center and UK’s Student Government helped bring Wednesday’s 2010 mayoral debate to the Student Center. The location of the debate was important, Hayes said, because the future mayor of Lexington will make decisions that significantly impact what happens on campus.

During the debate, both candidates had two minutes to introduce themselves and 90 seconds to respond to each question posed by members of the community. They touched on subjects such as job creation, environmental enhancement and downtown development, as well as several issues immediately relevant to the lives of UK students.

When asked how he will maintain a close relationship with UK if elected,  Newberry emphasized that “having a good working relationship with the university’s president is a good place to start.”

He also mentioned that he plans to continue Lexington’s “Game Day initiative” to ease traffic problems on campus associated with football games.

Gray agreed that a close relationship between Lexington’s government and UK is vital.

“One of the great strengths of our city is what the university creates: great talent,” Gray said.

Despite holding several fundamental differences in opinion on projects such as CentrePointe and the new water treatment plant, both Gray and Newberry encouraged UK students to vote in the upcoming election.

The election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 2.