Mayoral candidates hopeful the first Democratic Mayoral debate had people choosing a side

- The first Democratic Primary Mayoral debate took place at the Weeping Willow AME Church in East Charlotte.

Mayor Jennifer Roberts, Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyses and State Legislator Joel Ford squared off Saturday afternoon for the first time

"I’m the outsider, even though I’m a three term state legislator, I have to give the people of this community opportunity to get to know me city wide," Ford said.

Ford says there's a lack of unity between Charlotte and State legislature and fixing that broken relationship would bring Charlotte to the next level.

"I’m looking to bring some fresh ideas, a bold vision, for a city everyone can wrap them around and one of the things I want to bring is unity back to this community, and we’ve lost that under the current leadership," Ford said.

Mayor Roberts and Mayor Pro Tem Lyles both running under a similar flag.

"I think about people and when you think about people what you need a way to raise their families, which usually means a safe home, an affordable home and a good paying," Lyles said.

"Some of those issues we have been talking about in our community letter, housing, making sure people have access to good jobs, we’ve had some success there, we have more work to do," Mayor Roberts said.

They answered questions about environmental policies, community policing and the Keith Lamont Scott shooting, transportation and much more.

All three hoping this first debate gets people to choose who they will stand behind on election night.

"My strategy has always been to connect with voters. I’ve been doing that the last 18 months and so I will continue that strategy, going to community meetings, walking neighborhoods," Mayor Roberts said.

"[For people to] really hear the vision and the heart and the direction that I want to take this city in," Ford said.

"We know what the best solution might work in Charlotte, so as mayor I’m going to be talking about action on those items," Lyles said.

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