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Tulsa Mayoral Candidates Meet For First Debate

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Mayor Dewey Bartlett, former City Councilman Bill Christiansen and former Mayor Kathy Taylor met for their first debate. Mayor Dewey Bartlett, former City Councilman Bill Christiansen and former Mayor Kathy Taylor met for their first debate.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Three political power players who have all spent time inside City Hall met to highlight their differences for voters Wednesday night.

The three candidates for Tulsa mayor went toe-to-toe-to-toe on the issues in their first debate.

Dewey Bartlett, Bill Christiansen and Kathy Taylor took to their podiums to address Tulsa voters and the trio answered about 10 questions on a wide range of topics.

Possibly the most heated issue centered around the 2010 decision to add chloramine to the city's water.

Former City Councilman Christiansen said it's a health issue and pointed a finger at Mayor Bartlett for allowing it.

"What we need to do is do as we're doing presently. We're continuing to establish research projects, many of which are suggested by those that are criticizing the use of chloramine right now," Bartlett said.

Christiansen said, "Mayor Bartlett said that there are some more tests to be done and the people had concerns--I want to say to you that those tests should have been done before we put chloramine in the water."

"I think that's something we have to stay on top of, keep an open mind to," said former Mayor Kathy Taylor. "We cannot grow jobs in this in this community if we are posing a health risks."

5/1/2013 Related Story: Tulsa Firefighters Union Endorses Kathy Taylor For Mayor

Expanding economic development was a topic all three seemed to agree on, and each had a similar plan in mind.

Taylor suggested, "Growing companies with deep roots in Tulsa, through igniting our spirit of entrepreneurism and supporting our small businesses and making sure permitting is smooth."

"I believe we need boots on the ground in states like California," Christiansen said. "We need to sell Tulsa."

"We look at our assets, our economic assets, what do we have, what actually makes our city hum," Bartlett said.

4/22/2013 Related Story: Race For Tulsa Mayor Goes Negative, Prompts Threats Of Litigation

After the debate, the candidates told News On 6 what their top priority would be if elected

"Obviously the chloramine's a big one, but public safety," Christiansen said.

"Economic development and public safety, it's really of equal importance to me," Bartlett said.

"My top priority is really citizen engagement," Taylor said. "And that's really what I'm doing every day, engaging voters and talking to them about their priorities."

The primary of June 11, 2013 could settle the whole thing. If one of the candidates gets 50 percent, plus one vote, in the primary, that person wins the race.

Otherwise, a runoff election will be held in August.

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