Huntsville Mayoral Candidates Square Off

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Incumbent Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and challenger Jackie Reed faced off Tuesday night in a live debate on WHNT News 19.   The debate, which was sponsored by WHNT, The Huntsville Times, Leadership Huntsville-Madison County and the Committee of 100, lasted for 90 minutes.

Battle and Reed answered questions from panelists, those watching at Monaco Pictures and from social media. 

The topics covered a wide range of issues.  One of those was about the looming deficit cliff.   That's why many are calling a federal deficit reduction plan that is set to go into effect at the end of the year.   If it happens it could mean huge losses for Huntsville.

"We administer 60 billion dollars worth of federal money through redstone arsenal every year.  We keep 12 billion of it here, " Battle said.  "One of the ways to offset any future cuts is to keep more of that 60 billion dollars here locally."

"We need to work close with the government officials and stay with them and try to hold on to the jobs that we already have, " Reed responded.

Another topic the two discussed was downtown redevelopment.  Battle supports it, including a possible new stadium in downtown.   Reed is opposed.

"We have a project that's going to pay itself back in two and a half years," Battle said.   "That's going to put 2.3 million dollars back in the city cofars year after year after year."

Reed believes the money is being spent in the wrong area.

" I really believe that in downtown, it's too close to the Hospital," Reed said.  "And the money that the taxpayers are going to put downtown, I think we should put all this retail and stuff over to the heart of Huntsville."

Voters in Huntsville will make their choice for mayor of Huntsville on August 28th.