© 2024 WUKY
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Newberry, Gray Discuss Job Creation in Lexington

Jim Gray (left) is running for Lexington mayor against incumbent Jim Newberry

By Heather Chapman

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Lexington mayoral candidates Jim Newberry and Jim Gray met at Transylvania University Tuesday night to debate issues affecting the city's low-income families.

There was a modern twist to the forum: a projection screen on stage showed what viewers were saying about the debate on Twitter. The moderator, the Rev. Nancy Jo Kemper, incorporated tweets into some of her questions for the candidates.

One of the major topics of the nigh was job creation. Newberry said he has worked to create jobs in the traditional powerhouses of horses, healthcare, and high-tech industry, but also said Lexington is attracting plenty of jobs accessible to blue-collar workers.

"We just recently, for instance, announced a major expansion at ACS, 750 call center jobs where a high school degree is all you need. So it is a broad-based effort, not just exclusively high-tech."

But Gray, who cited high-paying blue collar jobs at IBM and Toyota, said he wants to see more.

"We can't accept or celebrate $10-an-hour jobs without benefits. I can't wave a magic wand. No one can. This is a very difficult economy. But that is the time, too, when we can best challenge ourselves."

The candidates also discussed affordable childcare and housing. The debate was sponsored by the Community Action Council and the Child Care Council of Kentucky.