Paducah Mayoral Candidates Discuss Issues
By West Kentucky Star Staff
PADUCAH - Both candidates on the ballot in the Paducah mayoral race are already making their case to voters why they should be elected in November.

Paducah City Commissioner Richard Abraham and his opponent, Paducah businessman George Bray, both spoke on the Greg Dunker Show Tuesday morning about some of their plans for the city if elected. 

Abraham, now in his sixth consecutive term as commissioner, said that if elected he will use his years of experience to help him get things done. He stressed a need for local government to provide an atmosphere that will help small businesses succeed, without getting bogged down with projects that in his opinion should be handled by the private sector.

"I've learned a lot. I really understand now how our form of government works, and how it should work. When we take care of the business that we're responsible for I think the city runs a lot better," Abraham said. "I think we get into trouble when we get outside of our lanes and start to dabble in some things that should be left to the private sector." 

Abraham stressed the need to create conditions that make it easier for local businesses to thrive.

"I've always had the philosophy, as far as government is concerned, to create an environment so entrepreneurs can look at what we're doing here in Paducah and feel that they have a shot to make a go of it," he said.

Bray and Abraham both addressed the current economic situation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Abraham said the current reality is going to require a major shift in economic priorities.

"We're in the middle of a pandemic, and so those numbers go out of the window," Abraham said. "So now we're speculative on what the ripple effect is gonna be of the payroll taxes that we did not get, and nine million dollars in business licenses deferred until July. You gotta adjust for those things. So, we're like a lot of other municipalities. We're trying to figure out where we stand financially."

George Bray said that even though the economic climate may not be great at the moment, he feels optimistic that Paducah will be able to make it through this crisis as it has many others, and that he will use his experience in business to help speed that process along as much as possible.

"Paducah through the years, through all kinds of recessions, we've never hit the highest highs, nor have we ever hit the lowest lows," Bray said. "I have a lot of confidence that Paducah will come back, and we can focus on the right things to get our city moving forward." 

Both candidates are in agreement that a previously planned $20 million aquatic center in Paducah should be off the table at this point.

"I was not as opposed to it early on, until I really looked at the way the aquatic center has been planned, and the way it was gonna be financed. I began talking to a lot of citizens to try to understand people's views," Bray said. "I think we need to move on to other projects that are more important for Paducah. One of the first things that we're gonna have to decide is really what do we do with that $20 million that's sitting in a bank account. Once we get through the election, whoever the mayor and city commission are, and I certainly hope it's gonna be me, we'll sit down with the new commission and we'll make well thought out, informed decisions about how we're gonna spend the money."

Abraham also panned the project as something that should be left up to the private sector.

"I've said from the beginning that's a bad deal for us. I think projects like that should be left to the private sector, and I don't think we should be competing with the private sector for fitness centers and pools, and things of that nature."

Click the links below to listen to both interviews in their entirety.

On the Net:

Richard Abraham Interview
George Bray Interview

Published 04:55 PM, Tuesday Jun. 30, 2020
Updated 06:43 PM, Wednesday Jul. 01, 2020



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