One of the hottest races in the mountains in the upcoming primary election is between four men who want to be the new state representative in the 84th district.
That district covers all of Perry County and a portion of Harlan County.
Democrats Benny Ray Bailey, Fitz Steele, Chester Jones and Troy Gaw participated in a candidate forum.
Benny Ray Bailey, Troy Gaw, Chester Jones, and Fitz Steele told voters why they should pick them later this month.
“We should all be treated the same our children should all be treated the same we should address education... we should address healthcare,” Bailey said.
“I'm just like each and every one of you; I go to work everyday and I go home and raise my family,” Gaw said.
“I have 30 years experience in public affairs I have the contacts in Frankfort,” Jones said.
“I am willing to go across and work across party lines with state and federal agencies,” Steele said.
Each candidate talked about a number of hot button issues from the state's budget woes and casino gambling to better & affordable education.
The regions on-going drug problem also kept coming up.
“We need to have parks we need to have other areas that they can go to and not be bored and say alright lets try this and lets do that... idle hands are the devils workshop,” Gaw said.
“Our local and county officials need more funding to fight the problem they need more forces and my job as a legislature is to fight for money and funding for sheriffs and city police,” Steele said.
“I think the key is simply education in or elementary schools once you get on drugs it is almost impossible to get off,” Jones said.
“In or communities what we have left of them are fire departments community resource centers family resource centers and we should draw upon them and use them as beacons of hope within our community to treat our own people,” Bailey said.
People who came to the forum say they liked what they heard.
Voters will make the final decision May 20th.
You can see much more from the debate Monday night at seven here on WYMT & wymtnews.com.
The 84th district seat opened up when republican Brandon Smith became state senator.
The man who replaced him, democrat Scott Alexander, is not a candidate.