OGDEN -- The two men running for mayor have similar visions of what they want for Ogden, though how qualified they are to see their visions through was up for debate Thursday evening.
Brian Mullahy, a news anchor for Channel 2, moderated the debate between candidates Mike Caldwell and Brandon Stephenson at the Ogden Municipal Building.
The two offered similar goals, including stabilizing neighborhoods and bringing in new business to improve the city. But how capable each is of realizing those goals was a point on which they differed.
Stephenson feels his local government experience as an Ogden City Council member means he can "come running into the job," unlike his opponent. He said this experience grants him knowledge about the relationship between the council and the mayor's office and how the city is run.
Caldwell acknowledged he would face a learning curve as an outsider to local government.
The director of the Ogden Ice Sheet is the public information officer and RAMP program manager for Weber County. He pointed out, though, that he would be surrounded by people who can help him with his weaknesses.
Stephenson said he would have to rely on people as well.
"I'm definitely a big-picture thinker. I rely on people to understand the details for me," he said. "It's important that I surrounded myself with people (who offset that)."
Caldwell made a point that the biggest difference between them is that he has held four different positions in the community. Besides his two county roles and his director position, he is also the president and CEO of the Ogden/Weber Convention and Visitors Bureau.
He said that experience gives him the ability to manage multiple projects and many different people at a time. He pointed out his management of hundreds of volunteers in different events and organizations of which he has been a part.
Stephenson responded that he has leadership in his background as well, including serving as the chairman and vice chairman of the Ogden Housing Authority. He also pointed out his involvement on the Central Weber Sewer Board and that he is a member of Downtown Ogden Inc.
He also brought up his 25 years of experience in both small and corporate businesses, and how that motivates him to make sure local government moves along to help them. He is currently the corporate control manager for J.M. Thomas Forest Products.
The debate was just one in the path to the Nov. 8 election. There will be more chances for them to debate their qualifications to lead.
But the moderator took a moment to pose a question about what each feels he would need to accomplish, if elected, in order to qualify for a second term.
Stephenson laid out that if there are no buildings going up downtown and if families are not moving back into safer, improved neighborhoods, then he should be a one-term mayor.
Caldwell, repeating his goals as mayor, said he "would like to have seen 3,000 jobs come into this community."
He added a double-digit drop in crime, a 25 percent increase in tourism revenue and an increase in homeownership as goals he would want to accomplish during his first term as mayor.
See what the Weber County Forum says: http://wcforum.blogspot.com/