CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- The two candidates for Cedar Rapids mayor faced off at a forum Monday night.
Voters picked Brad Hart and Monica Vernon for a run-off election next month. The focus was on economics.
Neighborhood development plans, business growth and keeping employees were all key themes at Monday night's forum.
From the start, the candidates discussed how each would work to attract and keep businesses in Cedar Rapids.
"I think trips out to see groups that are looking at communities such as Cedar Rapids,” Vernon said.
"We have to provide adequate housing. Not just affordable housing but workforce housing. So when people come here they can find a decent place to live,” Hart said.
With that, the candidates also discussed how to deal with the upcoming merger between Rockwell Collins and the Connecticut-based company, United Technologies. Both agree the mayor will have to be collaborative with the company's management.
“I think we have to be at the door or leaning on the door so when they open it we can get in. and that's not just the city we have to engage the private sector in that and the non-profits,” Hart said.
“That you keep the door open, you keep eyes and ears open, you invite back and forth,” Vernon said.
Another topic the candidates discussed was what factors they would consider when deciding whether or not to privatize current city services. Monica Vernon was quick to say the city has already privatized some services and she's concerned.
"That's concerning. The ability to easily park downtown and that's a private organization and I think sometimes they don't have the same dedication our employees have,” Vernon said.
Brad Hart said it's unlikely more city services will go to private vendors.
"I will just commit to always trying to do the best for the city of Cedar Rapids and that includes the employees of Cedar Rapids and taking into consideration of the taxpayers. I cannot say no we would never do it,” Hart said.
The election will be on December 5.