Local candidates meet for discussion and debate

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- Candidates for local elections met Tuesday at La Gala in downtown Bowling Green.

The race for the 20th District seat in the Kentucky State House of Representatives is up for grabs.

Tuesday night, both candidates running for the position were on stage at the same time for a debate.

Incumbent Jody Richards and Bowling Green City Commissioner Melinda Hill discussed issues that plague Kentucky.

Also on the schedule were prepared speeches from Bowling Green mayoral candidates.

Don Langley is running for Mayor as a write-in. He spoke on one of the first things he'd do in office, saying, "I will have a fairness ordinance on the agenda and voted on within the first 90 days in office."

Incumbent Mayor Bruce Wilkerson turned to his experince, saying he has been able to to take a bi-partison approach to any situation.

"Even though we may disagree, and diasagree vigorously on some things, we still allow that other opinion to be heard."

Perhaps the biggest race featured was that for the seat in the Kentucky State House of Representatives out of District 20.

Incumbent Jody Richards said, "It's been the greatest honor in my life to represent this community."

Melinda Hills says she believes it's time for change.

Both candidates agreed that the most important issue facing Kentucky right now is lack of funding for state-run pensions

"It's an embarrassment that in our state of Kentucky, our state pension program is $41 billion unfunded," said Hill. "It's an excellent program, but we cannot continue the way it is now."

Hill says she plans on taking action as soon as she is elected, whereas Jody Richards says with his help, government has already put in over a billion dollars into the problem.

He said, "We're working on making sure that the people who are depending on those pensions are able to get them without being detrimental to the commonwealth of Kentucky."

Melinda Hill reiterated multiple times another point she wanted to make.

"When you're running against a 40 year incumbent, I have to constantly stress that," she said. "I do not believe our forefathers meant for there to be lifelong politicians, so I think it's time for change. I want to be that change."

Jody Richards says his experience is what allows him to do his job in the best way way possible.

"I don't think we want to swap my leadership," he said, "for someone who will spend a lot of time trying to learn the system, trying to make the connections to get things done for Bowling Green and for our Commonwealth."

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