INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WLFI)- The first of two Gubernatorial debates took place this evening. It was hosted virtually by the Indiana Debate Commission.
Everything from the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers’ pay, and constitutional carry were brought up during the hour-long debate.
The candidates running for governor include Democratic nominee Dr. Woody Myers, Republican incumbent Governor Eric Holcomb, and Libertarian candidate Donald Rainwater. Each took different stances on how the pandemic has been handled so far. Dr. Woody Myers doesn't think governor Holcomb has taken a strong enough stance on public safety.
"We need a real mask mandate in Indiana,” said Myers. “A mask mandate with a consequence for the small amount of Hoosiers who choose not to protect themselves or protect others."
However, Rainwater feels it should up to individuals to make their own decision on how to protect themselves from the virus.
"The reality is there is no one size fits all solution to anything and there is no if you do this you will be protected," said Rainwater
Holcomb defended his mask mandate saying it sends the right message to Hoosiers.
"Our individual liberties need to be guarded,” stated Governor Holcomb. “When that liberty or those actions start to infringe on someone else we need to take a look at public safety."
Another topic of discussion that divided the candidates was constitutional carry, which refers to be able to carry a gun without a permit. A stance on the second amendment Donald Rainwater supports.
"I absolutely support constitutional carry in the state of Indiana and I will work with the general assembly to make sure we get constitutional carry passed in 2021," said Rainwater.
Governor Eric Holcomb is worried a policy like this would make policing more difficult.
"We will continue to cherish the second amendment but I don't want to do anything that would put law enforcement in a more dangerous situation," said Governor Holcomb.
Candidate Myers took a stronger stance on the topic by not supporting it at all.
"The second amendment is going to survive just fine without more individuals carrying more weapons around brandishing them and scaring members of the public,” added Myers. “I just don't support it."
As for the topic of teachers pay Holcomb says, it has and still is a priority of his administration.
"We allocate over 50 percent of our total revenue our state budget to education now that doesn't mean that we are there yet," said Holcomb.
Candidate Myers says more needs to be done.
"Indiana can raise teachers’ salaries by prioritizing education in the next budget and I will do so as your next governor," said Myers.
As for Rainwater, he feels politics needs to be taken out of the process.
"We need to get control back to the parents the teachers and the classroom,” said Rainwater. “The local school boards and school districts will then be able to take the money that is allocated for education instead of it being spent on big bureaucracy."
Several other topics were covered during the debate as well. To watch the debate in its entirety click here. The next gubernatorial debate is scheduled for Tuesday, October 27th.