Mayoral candidates face off at UK

By Drew Teague

With the Election Day drawing closer, UK will help students learn about one of the races.

UK will host a mayoral debate so students, faculty and the community can have a last chance to assess the candidates before making a final decision.

Lexington Vice Mayor Jim Gray will be one of the two at the debate, along with his opponent in the race, current Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry.

Gray said it is important to make sure UK is included with the rest of the city and is able to host the candidates and give those voting a chance to see the candidates.

“UK is an enormous part of the community and reaching out to the university community, demonstrating the candidates interest in the university and the way that the university and the city to work together,” Gray said.

Gray said this debate will be open in terms of what topics will be discussed, and those present will have an opportunity to ask the candidates questions.

“From what I understand the debate is covering all the issues,” Gray said. “I am sure there will be some focus on the university.”

Even though many people on campus are not registered to vote in Lexington, Gray said he thinks the event will have a good turnout.

“We had a good student representation in the primary,” Gray said. “I would hope that we will get a good crowd.”

Newberry’s campaign is in agreement with Gray’s in that aspect, said Lance Blanford, Newberry’s Campaign manager.

“With the Congressional race and the Senate race and with the mayoral race going on, I think people are really in tune with the elections this year,” Blanford said. “It will probably draw out a larger crowd than what it normally would.”

Gray and Newberry had a debate on Tuesday night, said Walker Mattox, Gray’s communications director.

Gray said the topics that the students and faculty will bring up will be ones that are personal to them, like last spring’s student housing issue.

“Traditionally the issues affecting the university and affecting the students are presented in debates,” Gray said. “We expect issues regarding student housing and city and university’s role in working with neighborhoods.”

Blanford said the Newberry campaign is ready for the debate and wants to see what types of concerns the audience will bring up to the candidates.

“We’re going to have a diverse group in the audience; we’re looking forward to a diverse set of questions,” Blanford said. “We hope we have the opportunity to answer questions that will be important to the citizens of Lexington, the students at UK and others that are independent.”

Gray knows how big athletics is to the university and said that this will probably be a topic discussed Wednesday night at the debate.

“We’ll always have an interest in the athletics program and how the city and Rupp Arena have to work together,” Gray said.

Blanford said he is happy the debate is being put on by the League of Women Voters and UK Student Government.

“The debate is through the League of Women Voters and the University of Kentucky and it’s important for [them] to know the stance of both candidates,” Blanford said.

The debate will be moderated by UK Student Government Vice President Kelsey Hayes and will start at 6 p.m. in the Student Center Small Ballroom and will last for approximately one hour.