With election day in less than two weeks, WETM hosted the first — and likely only– debate between Elmira’s Mayoral candidates Wednesday night.
Incumbent Mayor Sue Skidmore has no doubt that Elmirans should push for another four years under her leadership.
“I really believe that I’m the most experienced person in this room to do this job,” said Skidmore.
“I believe that I’ve been good for Elmira. I’ve been out there working with faith communities, not for profits… I’m everywhere, anywhere anybody wants me or needs me. I’m there, my door is always open, it has been open, and it will continue to be open.”
Republican challenger Dan Mandell, however, says new leadership will be best for the community.
He says being in charge is something he brings to the table.
“Why you should elect me is I bring leadership, six years in the United States Air Force taught me leadership and how to lead,” said Mandell.
“It taught me how to be a leader and to bring consensus to people and how to work with people in building relationships.”
After the closing statements, 18 News spoke with both candidates to hear their post-debate reaction.
For Mandell, the debate was a way to reach out to voters.
“For the most extent, [I] got my message out,” said Mandell.
“I was happy with the way the debate went for me. They get to know who I am, my leadership ability because that’s really what Mayor needs to be. Leadership and proven leadership that brings results and that’s what we need right now .”
For Skidmore, she felt she was in the line of fire.
“I think that there were some very good comments but it was all under attack,” said Skidmore.
“And that’s not a leader, that’s a boss and that’s not really what you want. He thinks he’s a leader but he’s not and I think it’s interesting that he spends most of his time down at the County rather than coming into the City to find out what’s going on.”
Nearing the end of her first term in office, Skidmore defends her accomplishments and says some work and change just takes time.
“If we could’ve gotten some things done already,” said Skidmore.
But for Mandell, change hasn’t happened quickly enough.
“It’s just not happening… we’ve been kindof stagnant over the last couple of years,” said Mandell.
As for the next four years of leadership in Elmira, that’s up to the voters on November 3rd.