Candidates for Reading mayor gather for debate at Alvernia

READING, Pa. - Four of the five democratic candidates running for mayor of Reading as well as the lone Republican candidate took the stage at Alvernia University for a televised debate.

Democrats Frankie Graham Jr., Annarose Ingarra-Milch, Robert Melendez and incumbent Wally Scott, and Republican Louis Perugini discussed a variety of issues during the hour-long affair Tuesday night. Democratic candidate Eddie Moran told organizers he could not attend.

Related: Get to know the Reading mayoral candidates

Potential voters who attended had lots of ideas to sift through.

"They all had some pretty good input," said Steven Schulze, a debate attendee. "It remains to be seen exactly what they're going to do."

"We need a lot of help, and I think I did hear a lot of good ideas from the candidates," said Connie McGettigan.

The first topic on the list involved Act 47, a state program for financially distressed cities like Reading, which has been in the program for nearly a decade.

"Act 47, it's just really a shame our city has gotten this bad," said Rosemarie Sullivan Sandman.

Topics relating to the city's economy also had other tie-ins, like issues with parking and congestion.

"There [are] too many people from out of the city, from out of the state, buying up properties and just trying to make a buck off it, and it's causing congestion in the city," Schulze said.

"Parking is really not good in the city at all, and I think their needs to be some changes made," McGettigan said.

The recent trial of former Mayor Vaughn Spencer came up, raising concerns regarding public trust in local government.

"You have to really pay attention, listen to what they said," Sandman said. "and who's speaking from the heart and who, really, can we trust?"

For more 69 News election coverage, head to election central.

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