HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Over 200 people packed one of the ballrooms at the Thad Cochran building on the campus of Southern Miss on Tuesday night for the Mississippi House District seat 102 debate.
The League of Women Voters Pine Belt and USM speech and debate team moderated the debate.
The four candidates who qualified for the election are Cory Ferraez, Missy Mcgee, Casey Mercier, and Kathryn Rehner. They are vying for the seat vacated by Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker.
Three of the four candidates were present at the debate and Seven on Your Side caught up with them before the debate began. Here's what they had to say:
Missy Mcgee: "I believe one of the most important things for district 102 is to be an advocate for our university(s) and keep it strong, our medical community, our business community and our entrepreneurs. We know we have challenges in our public education system and we know we need to address infrastructure issues such as roads, bridges, water and wastewater."
Kathryn Rehner: "I'm running to put people first, for me putting people first means that I believe that each and every person regardless if they are black or white, rich or poor, educated or uneducated has value and deserves access to the resources and opportunities that they need to be successful."
Cory Ferraez: "I'm campaigning on telling voters how and why I vote on every piece of legislation that affects district 102. I'm also going to hold town halls (meetings) before and after the sessions because I believe that transparency is one of the greatest things along with discussing the issues with the voters that they know how their public servants are voting on the issues."
Because of the special election, each candidate is considered an independent.
Candidate Casey Mercier was not present at the debate.
Election day is September 12th. If a runoff is needed, that will be on October 3rd.
You can watch the full debate below.