Gubernatorial candidates visit Vestavia Hills

VESTAVIA HILLS, AL (WBRC) - By Alan Collins

VESTAVIA HIILS, AL (WBRC) - The Alabama gubernatorial candidates were in republican territory Tuesday.  Republican, Robert Bentley and democrat, Ron Sparks appeared before the Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce.

It was a packed room at the Vestavia Country Club.

Bentley told the crowd he would stand up the federal government over healthcare and immigration.

"I hear of the intrusion of the federal government into our lives and from our folks. I'm about sick of it. It's been going on for 70 years." Bentley said.

Sparks says he would also stand up the federal authorities when necessary. But he is seeking to build coalitions and find common ground.

"Its easy to stand up here and point fingers at folks in Washington DC and to folks in Montgomery, Alabama," Sparks said.

Mass transit is a hot topic in Birmingham. Both candidates say they support mass transit, but there was not a commitment to use part of the state gas tax to fund a bus system. "There is a lot of needs as far as transportation is concerned. . Right now we need to look at more than mass transit," Bentley said.

Sparks added, "Certainly roads is the number one priority and bridges."

While Bentley and Sparks agreed on most issues, gambling is the issue that divides the candidates.

"We need to tax them at a rate of 25 of 30 percent. We need to regulate it and we need a statewide racing commission second to none," Sparks said.

Bentley replied,  "You can not look at a single state in the country that has benefited from gambling."

Both candidates say they support a statewide vote on legalizing or not gambling.

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