Lehigh County Executive candidates debate

Scott Ott and Tom Muller square off in Allentown

Published: Oct 07 2013 06:00:20 PM EDT   Updated On: Oct 08 2013 06:41:00 AM EDT
Tom Muller and Scott Ott
ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

The two men who want to be the next Lehigh County Executive went head to head Monday. The two candidates participated in a debate at the Jewish Community Center of Allentown.

Tom Muller, the Democratic candidate, and Scott Ott, the Republican candidate, spoke to a group of mostly senior citizens and answered questions on a variety of issues.

"If I should win this election on November 5, it will be by the strength of the votes of senior citizens throughout Lehigh County," said Ott.

Muller is currently the Lehigh County Director of Administration and Ott serves as vice chairman of the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners.

One issue they were asked about is their position on programs to assist seniors economically.

"I am a big supporter of the programs for seniors partially because I will be or I am one already. But more importantly I actually changed parties when my opponent decided he could not vote for the pass through grant of $30,000 to meals on wheels from the federal government," said Muller.

Ott said, "My concern is that we are becoming dependant on a remote control government that doesn't have a face to face contact with the people here. We can fund these programs locally, $30,000 is a doable amount. Now that said, that grant program passed and the money is being distributed and I'll continue to be supportive of meals on wheels."

Washington politics were also brought up.

Muller said, "I truly am here for Lehigh County. I can't solve the problems in Washington; we've got some very good people we send down there."

Ott said, "We can make a difference in this country by what we do at the local level and I am no longer going to accept the answer that there's nothing we can do to change their behavior in Washington, D.C. We can change our behavior right here."

Some voters who watched the debate were satisfied, but others wanted more.

"I was not happy with all the answers that either one of them gave me because there are certain things I think the government is doing very poorly both in Washington and here," said Henriette Engelson. "I asked about the finances in Washington and I wanted to know what they're doing here locally
to take care of our finances here and I think there are lots of empty spots here where money should be going."

Joy Miller, another voted who attended the debate, said, "I like to hear the voice behind the name."

"Now that I've heard the candidates speak I have a clear cut that I don't have to stay in my own party and it made a really big difference by being here today," Miller added.

69 News is airing a debate between Ott and Muller Oct. 26 at 6:30 p.m.