By Stacey Glaesmann
The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Greater Houston held its November Membership Breakfast at the Crowne Plaza NRG Park, where Houston mayoral candidates Sylvester Turner and Bill King squared off in their first official debate since the Nov. 3 elections. Turner garnered 32 percent of the votes on Election Day and King got 25 percent, causing a runoff election that will be held on Dec. 12.
Each candidate was given thirty minutes to talk about his platform and then questions from the audience were answered for 10-15 minutes. The forum was moderated by Dennis Winkler of Winkler Public Relations.
Attorney and former Kemah Mayor Bill King’s platform was entitled, “Back to the Basics,” in which he addresses balancing the budget, improving public safety, fixing the streets and growing the economy.
King said that he’d like to see the 38 HPD officers that are assigned to patrolling downtown on horseback reassigned to clearing violent crime cases and saving the $8 million per year the city spends on the Mounted Patrol Program.
“I know this is Texas and we all love our horses,” said King. “But seriously, in the 21st century, is this how you want to spend $8 million? Or would you rather have them going after the 600 rapists that got away with it last year?”
“If you want to get this city back to basics, if you want to get our streets fixed, if you want to start catching the crooks and if you want to do it on a responsibly balanced budget, then I’m your man,” King concluded.
Turner focused more on “income inequality,” which he explained as needing to provide resources for all citizens to further their education and training to become productive members of society.
Turner also emphasized the need for balancing the city’s budget.
“The first thing the mayor will have to do is make sure we have a balanced budget by June 30, 2016,” he said.
Turner’s other primary platform issues were fixing potholes around the city, finding options to solve Houston’s flooding problems and conducting investigations to figure out what HPD needs to be more effective.
“We are so different,” King said of his views compared to Turner’s. “This all depends on which communities come out and vote,” he said.
Early voting begins Dec. 2.
For more information on both candidates, visit HoustonTX.gov.