MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Election day is just a month out and it's historic. It's the election just before Macon and Bibb County merge. Six of the mayoral candidates sat on stage for a forum at the Douglass Theatre Thursday.
The six mayoral hopefuls answered question after question on the state of Macon, and what they'll do when the city and county merge in January.
"We've got to rebuild downtown, we've got to get every one of those stores open, but we've also got to get those individuals that want jobs get them jobs," Mayoral candidate Joe Allen said.
"We've go to work day and night, to eliminate poverty in this community," Mayoral candidate C. Jack Ellis said.
Current Mayor Robert Reichert says he wants Macon to be a central hub for middle Georgia.
"We have a number of assets that we need to take advantage of and be competitive with other cities across the southeast," Reichert said.
Topics ranged from economic issues, to education and reducing crime.
Charles Bishop and former Macon mayor C. Jack Ellis say crime is a problem, but the root of it is what needs to be addressed.
"We've got to clean up the crime problem, we've got to clean up the city of Macon. We've let it go to long and let it get in bad shape by political interference with the operation of law enforcement," Bishop said.
"Yes we do have a lot of crime in the African-American community, but we also have a lot of poverty in the African-American community," Ellis said.
Candidate David Cousino talked about cleaning up rundown neighborhoods.
"If you see something wrong in the community, encourage somebody to clean it up, close it up, or shut it up," Cousino said.
Bibb Commission Chair Sam Hart and Commissioner Joe Allen believe touted their managerial skills for the job.
"Management and a vision and that's what you need in this new government, somebody who listens, but also has the ability to bring people together," Hart said.
"I want to be there for you, you've got a problem you call me," Allen said.