In the race for Rochester mayor, the three official candidates squared off in their first televised debate.
It was held at WROC’s studios and aired on WROC/News 8.
This debate was about the issues including public safety, the city’s deficit, and vacant housing.
Those issues are weighing heavily on the candidates in this race for mayor.
The candidates were given 90 seconds to respond to a series of questions.
That was followed by a rapid fire round where candidates could respond: yes or no.
The candidates were also allowed to have opening and closing statements.
They talked budget cuts, specifically to police and fire.
"Clearly there are priorities, and we'll have to recognize them. And when we recognize them, we want to do it with a full look at everything. So you can't start by saying certain things can't be touched no matter what," said Alex White, (G) Mayoral Candidate.
"We need to recognize what our priorities should be and we should say there are things that are last on the table," said Tom Richards, (D) Mayoral Candidate
"If you exempt something from the beginning you automatically entitle something and it might not be so," said Bill Johnson, (I, WF) Mayoral Candidate.
"We will resume open and fair negotiations, there will be times when city will prevail and times when unions will prevail," said Johnson.
"I don't think we should be going to them and saying you have to give us concessions,” said White.
"Threatening people in the media or making judgments before we've had that kind of conversation, I think is inappropriate and I am not going to do it," said Richards.
The hard part came when the candidates had to answer yes or no.
On topics like merit-based pay in city hall?
"Mr. Johnson? Probably. Mr. White? I'd have to look at the plan. Mr. Richards. Yes."
How about supporting a casino?
"Mr. White? No. Mr. Richards? I don't think there's a place for a casino in downtown Rochester, no. Mr. Johnson? No."
Or bringing back a ferry?
"Mr. Richards? Only if it's privately funded. Mr. Johnson? Maybe. Mr. White? I agree with Mr. Richards."
The special election is just about two weeks away.
It’s set for March 29th.