BBJ Gubernatorial debate focuses on jobs, sewer debt

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The candidates for Alabama governor gave their ideas for making Birmingham better during their latest debate. They agreed Birmingham needs help attracting jobs and believe the metro faces challenges to conquer before it can grow.

Challenges ranging from infrastructure to Jefferson County's sewer debt crisis were discussed at the debate. Ron Sparks said Birmingham has been left out of some of the state's job growth over the  past several years.

Dr. Robert Bentley said before the area can create jobs like other cities in the state Jefferson County must deal with its $3 billion sewer debt crisis.  He said the county has to get the debt under control and his plan is to bring banks to the negotiating table.

"You bring them to the table by telling them we're going to impose Chapter 9 bankruptcy if they don't come to the table," said Bentley. "You talked about it, let me tell you, they will come to the table and we will solve this problem, get out from under that debt and that's what the people of Birmingham and Jefferson County want done today.

Ron Sparks disagreed with Bentley's idea. "Maybe we see Birmingham different. I see a light at the end of the tunnel. I see a new day in Birmingham, I see a lot going on in Birmingham and I too believe the worst thing that could happen is to bankrupt the system," said Sparks. "I believe it's the Governor's responsibility to come to the city and work with elected officials to continue progress."

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