New Bern mayoral candidates square off at first debate - WSPA.com

New Bern mayoral candidates square off at first debate

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NEW BERN, N.C. -

In New Bern, the two candidates for mayor went head tohead at their first debate on Monday.

Dozens of people streamed into the Isaac Taylor Garden on Craven Street to heardirectly from the candidates on why they feel they're best to lead the city.

"At every stance, I have taken a leadership role in everythingI've done," said mayoral candidate Sabrina Bengel, first ward alderman.

"I know all 30 square miles of this city and the problemsit has," said mayoral candidate Dana Outlaw, sixth ward alderman.

Bengel and Outlaw fielded ten questions over the courseof an hour on different problems facing the city.

The candidates agreed on many issues, like the need forcity government to be more transparent, and the importance of the city's$80,000 branding campaign.

"I can't say there was a true winner. I think they bothdid a good job of answering the questions," said voter Bob Mattocks, whoattended a portion of the debate.

But both candidates were quick to point out theirdifferences. Throughout the debate Bengel emphasized her leadership qualities,questioning her opponent's.

"I do not see where he has stepped up. His biggest issuehas been electric. But yet he had the opportunity to serve on the electric citiesboard and passed the opportunity. What better place to try to change ourprocess than there?" she said.

Outlaw dismisses those remarks. He says serving on theelectric cities board would be redundant because he's an alderman.

"We all have our opinions. If you check my resume out,there's proven leadership on my part for many years. That's a bold statement. That'sMrs. Bengel at her worst," said Outlaw.

The two candidates have known each other for more than 30years, and share some of the same goals for the city. One of their main differences: their strategy for meetingthose goals.

Two more debates are set for October 23 and October 29. Therunoff election is November 5.

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