Lawmakers agree Gov. debates lack substance

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 7, 2002

It’s been two days since the fiery debate between gubernatorial candidates Don Siegelman and Bob Riley &045;&045; long enough for citizens to digest what happened Monday night.

Punctuated by finger-shaking, yelling and a no-holds bar argument, the first of two planned gubernatorial debates was anything but dull.

Holmes noted that Siegelman did lose his cool when Riley claimed during the debate that some black politicians consider the Siegelman administration corrupt.

Holmes said he thought Siegelman was winning the debate until that exchange, but that it then swung in Riley’s favor.

Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma, describes himself as a loyal Siegelman supporter. He said he thought the governor was on the defensive at first, but that Siegelman came back to win the debate.

On the issue of whether or not Siegelman has alienated blacks from his administration, Sanders insisted that at least 90 percent of black lawmakers in Montgomery support the governor.

Holmes, whom Riley mentioned during that section of the debate, pointed out that the issue he was addressing was not a racial one, but just an overarching problem with corruption in government.

Some people think Riley has a point. Tim Moorer of Selma pointed out that on paper, Siegelman has replaced many high-ranking black officials with white ones.

He watched the debates Monday and said he would vote for Bob Riley, adding that it’s time for someone different to take over in Montgomery.

Both Holmes and Sanders thought that several important issues were overlooked in the debate.

Holmes said he noticed a lack of debate about unemployment and education. &uot;We do not have a permanent basis for funding of education in the state,&uot; he said.

The debate between Siegelman and Riley was the first of two scheduled debates, the second one to be held Oct. 20.

It will also be broadcast on public television.