Houston mayoral candidates participate in public forum

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by Andrew Horansky / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on August 18, 2013 at 10:33 AM

Updated Sunday, Aug 18 at 10:40 AM

HOUSTON -- In just a few months Houston voters will head to the polls to choose the city’s next mayor. On Saturday night most of the candidates met publicly for the first time to talk about the issues.

The event was hosted by the Baptist Minister’s Association of Houston and Vicinity at the J.J. Roberson Family Life Center on Redbud Street.

The forum was open to the public and more than 100 people packed the gymnasium. Candidates Don Cook, Eric Dick, Ben Hall, Victoria Lane and Mayor Annise Parker each took questions from a panel and later the audience. Candidates Keryl Douglas and Mike Fitzsimmons did not attend.

Most of the questions centered on crime, poverty and infrastructure. However, voter Tammy Golden said she came to hear about something else.

“Education and jobs,” she said. “Those are the most important things.”

The event came as the race heats up between the two front-runners, Parker, the incumbent, and attorney Ben Hall. Each recently launched television ads calling out the other.

Though moderators on Saturday night called for no personal attacks, Hall mentioned the mayor and claimed some of her facts were wrong. She was later given the opportunity for rebuttal.

Even after the two-hour forum ended, some voters said they were still undecided on a candidate.

“It’s going to be a toss-up,” voter Ronald Ravenell said. “It’s going to be a very interesting race.”

The candidates are most certain to tackle the issues again publicly.

Hall has challenged Parker to six debates. She has agreed to participate in one. The date and time have yet to be determined.

There is also still time for others to enter the race. The filing deadline is Aug. 26.

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