HARTFORD -- Constructive and at times, heated conversation filled the room on a number of topics during FOX61's Hartford Mayoral Debate Thursday night.
“I made one mistake. I regret that mistake," said former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez. "I ask you to forgive me and I asked you to give me a second chance to prove the great work that I can do if I become your mayor.”
Sharp words were thrown early and often about trust and commitment to the office of mayor. Perez and incumbent Mayor Luke Bronin took jabs from State Representative Brandon McGee on their past work not being enough.
“All I have experienced is you turning your back and the 57th district when you talk about development for residents and our small businesses,” said Representative McGee.
Heated words turned to constructive debate over Hartford’s small businesses and local communities.
"If we don’t make our neighborhoods the single most important part of city development, I don’t think it’s a city we will ever move forward." said J. Stan McCauley.
McCauley, a Democrat cross endorsed by Republicans, Perez and McGee all stressed growing the local neighborhoods. Perez and McGee saying revitalizing downtown hasn’t trickled down.
"We have to ensure that we have people at the table who’s going to believe in leadership that they voted upon," said representative McGee.
Mayor Bronin discussed keeping Hartford afloat financially after taking office in 2016. Since then, he says Hartford’s seen development in all parts of the city.
"We need to promote development wherever we can," said Mayor Bronin. "It really does contribute to our ability to provide vital support services to all of our residents."
Mayor Bronin believes the development downtown will attract outside residents to spend on small businesses throughout Hartford’s neighborhoods. While Perez sees improved education as a way to revitalize those neighborhoods.
"Education has always been important to me and it will be the most important thing that I work on when I become the mayor of Hartford," said Perez.
The candidates also discussed gun violence plaguing the city of Hartford and even had to say what they admire about one another.
The complete debate will re-air in its entirety for a special edition of "The Real Story" and "Real people with Stan Simpson" at 10 a.m. Sunday.