Owensboro’s Rooster Booster Breakfast hosts candidate forums

Mayoral candidates speak on city issues, addresses recent crime

Owensboro’s Rooster Booster Breakfast hosts candidate forums: Tom Watson, Dracin Williams

OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - The Owensboro’s Rooster Booster Breakfast hosted its monthly meeting virtually on Thursday.

The Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce held two forums for the Owensboro Mayoral Race, as well as the Kentucky House of Representatives.

Mayoral candidates include city commissioners Larry Conder and Pam Smith-Wright, as well as Owensboro native Dracin Williams and incumbent Tom Watson.

Topics during Thursday’s meeting included the role of mayor and a non-discrimination ordinance, along with downtown development, opinions on reinstating a primary election, and city recruitment and retention.

The remaining topic was about addressing crime.

“You can look at all the shootings we’ve had - gang activity, whatever the case may be, get down to the root of it and you’ll find there is meth issue there,” Conder said. “Somehow, some way, it’s going to be there. So, instead of us continuing to ask ‘What is wrong with you,” we should ask each person, ‘What happened to you to make you want to go down that path.’"

“Through education, through opportunities for these young people who have access to guns and whatever,” Smith-Wright said. “We have to start penalizing parents for having guns where children have access to them. I think it’s a major problem, but I think Owensboro, Kentucky - if anybody can fix it, we can fix it.”

Owensboro’s Rooster Booster Breakfast hosts candidate forums: Larry Conder, Pam Smith-Wright

Mayor Watson has held the position for the last four years.

“There’s a methamphetamine problem, there’s opioid problems," Watson said. "There are a lot of of things that must be addressed, but you have to do it with a strong and appropriate police department. I think we have that. I think our sheriff’s office is strong and appropriate, and you have to support them.”

Williams, who’s the youngest candidate on the ballot, also addressed recent crime in Owensboro.

“How do we make sure that people are stable in their housing, that kids have food, that young people have mental health services when they have those feelings of suicide,” Williams said. “It’s about addressing the condition, and those conditions aren’t always addressed by more police. Now, we don’t have to defund the police, but they’re not addressed by more policing - that’s not the solution.”

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