Cox and Taylor debate it out on stage - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Cox and Taylor debate it out on stage

July 12, 2006

Albany-- It's the debate many voters have been waiting for. Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls Cathy Cox and Mark Taylor went head to head at the Albany Municipal Auditorium.

Secretary of State Cathy Cox and Lt. Governor Mark Taylor have many things in common. They're both south Georgia Democrats.  They've served years in state government and they want to improve education.  But only one can tackle that issue in the November election against Gov. Sonny Perdue. Wednesday's debate could help voters decide which one.  

Gubernatorial candidates Cathy Cox and Mark Taylor stood behind the red, white and blue tonight for a highly anticipated debate. They both stated their goals from the start.

"I want us to get our priorities straight and put our focus back on the needs of families and communities as it should be," says Cox.

"My record says I work for you and that I get things done," says Taylor.

Cox and Taylor tackled questions from four panelists regarding abortion, gay marriage and a big topic for both, education in Georgia. Cox wants to change what she calls the "horrendous" dropout problem in the state.

"More than 40 percent of our children are dropping out before they ever finish high school. I'm the candidate that's talking about how we can address that," says Cox. To address it, Cox says she has a comprehensive plan.

"On how we can put a focus on early grades, on kindergarten and pre-kindergarten and get things done but when we get into high school really transition them into a good job," says Cox.

"Education is the key to economic opportunity," says Taylor. If given the opportunity to be Governor, Taylor says he would restore cuts to the Hope scholarship program and help with teacher workload.

"I have gone so far as to introduce a constitutional ammendment to require lower class sizes in grades K through 3. It's affordable. It's a great investment," says Taylor. But the biggest problem with making those changes include cuts made in the past and future funding for schools.

"I think we need to look all over the United States to find out what is the best method to not only adequately fund our schools but that we fund them for excellence," says Cox. "It's about a commitment to our school, to our teachers, it's about getting things done," says Taylor.

Now that the debate is done, did the candidates think the stage was fair? "It was really a good opportunity for voters to see who in this race is looking at the future," says Cox.

"Feel very very confident. Feel that people got our message about what we've done," says Taylor. 

So it's now left in the voters hands to decide who'll take the next step.  

Cathy Cox's platform include affordable healthcare for small businesses and funding extensive teacher training. Mark Taylor is pushing free healthcare for kids and discounted prescriptions throughout the state.

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