Some of Watertown's youngest residents were the most vocal at a candidates forum Friday. They asked the majority of the questions of the four candidates hoping to earn a seat on the city council. YNN's Elizabeth Jeneault was at Immaculate Heart Central High School, where she says the younger crowd had candidates talking ways to keep people living and working in the city.
WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- With election day just a week and a half away, the chances for Watertown residents to meet the four city council candidates who are are vying for the two open spots are dwindling.
There's the two incumbents, Teresa Macaluso and Jeff Smith, and then there's the two challengers, Cody Horbacz and Stephen Jennings. And although a final public forum held Friday drew a smaller crowd than expected, it gave candidates a chance to answer questions from a much younger group of residents.
"We are the future of our city, the continuing of the city and so we as a student body have decided to question the candidates on issues that would be prevalent to us," said Gabriella Rivera, a senior at Immaculate Heart Central High School.
Young people like Gabriella make up a sector of the population that's important to all of the candidates.
"We find that people go away to college and they tend not to come back. So we need to find a way to get those young kids coming back and working here and raising their families here," said Cody Horbacz.
Both newcomers believe that finding a way to do that involves asking questions about economic development in the area.
"How can we attract business into the city? How can we get more people employed? There's high unemployment in the city, so I think it's just taking a different approach to planning," said Stephen Jennings.
But the two incumbents say they've already done a good job at attracting business to the area.
"You look at downtown Watertown. You've got the Woolworth being renovated, you've got the Mercy Corp. Redevelopment coming in, you've got the Lincoln building," said Jeff Smith, Watertown City Councilman.
"We're trying to revitalize Watertown one area at a time. We're concentrating on the square because there is a lot of potential there. We would like to see it be the way it was 50 years ago," said Watertown City Councilwoman Teresa Macaluso.
But that time has yet to come and it was clear to everyone at Friday's forum that no matter which two candidates take the two open seats on election day, the focus will be on creating more jobs, attracting more business and doing more to revitalize the area.
If you missed your opportunity to ask the candidates questions on Friday, you have one more chance to meet some of them at a luncheon taking place at the Italian-American Club on Halloween.