Ottumwa mayoral race heats up with debate

Incumbant Mayor Frank Flanders and mayoral candidate Tom Lazio debate before audience in council chambers.

A mayoral debate took place inside the Ottumwa City Council Chambers Thursday night, giving citizens a better chance to get to know the two men vying for the seat.

Before voters head to the polls on November 5, many of them packed the council chambers to hear incumbent Mayor Frank Flanders seeking a second two-year term and mayoral candidate Tom Lazio's stances on a variety of issues in which residents are concerned about. After opening statements, moderator Ken Williams started the debate off asking three questions of his own, and then he read five questions from residents collected prior to the debate. Each candidate told KTVO what they plan to do for the people of Ottumwa as mayor if elected next month.

â??Continue with the policy of integrity and openness to the people serving the people, putting the people first and paying attention to what they have want done,â?? Mayor Flanders said. â??They say they want streets; we're doing a lot for the streets. They say they want living wage jobs; we're making things happen in Ottumwa.â??

â??I would be available on a full-time basis to respond to concerns and issues that the citizens bring up, and I will report regularly to the community on the progress the city is making.â??

The debate concluded with the two candidates asking each other a question and closing statements.

Mayor Flanders asked Lazio if the Ottumwa City Council voted 3-2 for a part-time volunteer fire department, how would he act, and Lazio responded he would veto that ruling saying what the Ottumwa Fire Department does is vital to run full-time for what they do both in terms of medical responses and fires.

Lazio asked Mayor Flanders what he has done specifically to create jobs over the course his term, and Mayor Flanders responded first by saying a certain appointment he made, ultimately led to enough votes for Black Lake to be in control of John Deere, which was turned over from the Ottumwa Water Works. He continued to say he is working with a variety of people and business owners to create jobs, but couldnâ??t get too specific due to confidentiality agreements.

Some other questions asked by Williams were â??What does the Mayor do?â?? â??What is the major difference between you and your opponent?â?? â??And would a casino be a good way to lower taxes for Ottumwa citizens?â??

The debate was open for the public to attend.