Posted: Apr 17, 2011 5:16 PM by Matt Stafford
Updated: Apr 18, 2011 10:55 AM
Richard Skorman and Steve Bach are fighting it out to be Colorado Springs' first strong mayor; and a tough job awaits the winner. A big part of their job will be improving the city's image following what some call negative press over the years.
News First 5 helped sponsor the first runoff debate between Skorman and Bach Friday, at the El Pomar Foundation's Penrose House, where they addressed the issue.
"We have a great faith community here, we really do and it's an important party of our community, it's an important part of our economy; but to be the anti-gay capitol of the United States, it's not good for our image, it's not good for jobs," Skorman said to the audience. "I have an opponent that won't welcome the gay pride parade."
"As Mayor I won't tolerate any form of discrimination, let's be clear about that," Bach responded. "We need to find ways to come together more."
News First 5 anchor Rob Quirk served as the moderator for the debate, and he stepped in after Bach's response.
"Just as a point of clarification -- you say you want to celebrate each and every one of us, you don't want to discriminate but you've been criticized for stating publicly that you would not sign a proclamation recognizing the gay and lesbian parade," said Quirk. "If you could please clarify that contradiction for our folks."
"For the record I have not made that statement. I'd like to ask Richard where and when I made the statement because I have not made that statement," Bach replied.
"I was reading a survey you filled out that Focus on the Family had done, and essentially that is what is what your answer was to that question," Quirk responded.
"Well you used the word essentially, fair enough," Bach said.
Bach's response in the survey was opposed to a proclamation supporting the annual gay pride parade. Here's his statement to Focus on the Family:
The Mayor must be focused on the issues affecting city government and the advancement of Colorado Springs. The Mayor should be focused on the day-to-day operations of the City, allowing private entities to engage in, and support, their own private initiatives.
"I'm not going to sign a proclamation for focus on the family if they want a parade," Bach clarified during the debate. "Let's have a community parade. Let's put aside all these labels."
"I do feel that the more we celebrate individual causes the less unified we will be," Bach said.
If you missed Friday's debate it runs on News First Now, all this week, at 7 p.m. -- that's over the air channel 5.2, or Comcast channel 9.
To read all of the questions and responses to the Focus on the Family candidate survey, click here.