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Candidates clash in Flint's mayoral debate

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

A debate Thursday night between the two candidates for Flint mayor saw few sparks, but some sniping.

Incumbent Mayor Karen Weaverand her challenger, state representative Sheldon Neeley, sparred during the 30-minute debate on WJRT TV.

Flint’s water crisis was front and center in the debate.

Neeley suggests Weaver abuses residents’ mistrust of Flint’s water system.

“Trust has been misplaced and also misdirection has been given to people and residents in this community when we talk about cost of water,” Neeley said.

But Weaver shot back at Neeley on the water issue.

“When the water rates were raised illegally, you sat right there as a city councilmember and didn’t say anything about it.  When I was fighting with Governor Snyder to get some things, you didn’t sit there and fight with me,” Weaver retorted.

The two also split on crime and city finances.  

Neeley questioned Weaver’s handling of city finances.

“Right now, taxes are up. Street light and garbage assessments are up. Water costs are up. And yes, the city administration salaries…they’re up,” says Neeley.

For her part, Weaver focused on Neeley’s performance as a Flint city councilman in the years leading up to the state takeover in 2011.

“When you were on the city council, we were number one in the country for violent crime, and you didn’t do anything,” responded Weaver. 

Despite the sometimes sniping tone of the debate, the two shook hands.

Flint voters go to the polls in just over two weeks to decide who should lead the city for the next three years.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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