Three candidates for the Lincoln mayoral race were put to the test Wednesday afternoon in a forum at the University of Nebraska Law School. Candidates Leirion Gaylor Baird, Jeff Kirkpatrick, and Cyndi Lamm were in attendance and questioned by law students.
The three were asked about the fairness ordinance that makes it illegal for businesses to discriminate against LGBT people. An ordinance that was passed by the City Council in 2012 but has yet to take effect.
Kirkpatrick approves of the ordinance, saying “I believe at least it’s a matter of basic, simple human decency.” Gaylor Baird agreed with Kirkpatrick, saying it’s wrong when someone can get married on Saturday and get fired on Monday.
Candidate Lamm told the group that all people should be treated fairly, but said “I am somewhat hesitant to adopt new laws that regulate what small business adopt as their own policies.”
The students also questioned the candidates on what’s needed to fix Lincoln’s roads. Lamm said the city already has the money needed to repair roads.
Gaylor Baird disagreed, pointing to a recent task force finding that the city needs an added $33 million a year.
“To find $33 million in our city budget, you probably have to cut the entire Parks and Recreation Department budget, and that’s not an option,” Gaylor Baird told the forum.
Democrat Jeff Kirkpatrick agreed with Gaylor Baird, saying even passing the quarter cent sales tax on the upcoming election ballot will leave us short of the money needed to fully catch up with street maintenance.
The three candidates did come to a consensus when discussing if Lincoln is a sanctuary city. They were asked whether Lincoln is a sanctuary city, and whether it helps the Immigration and Customs Service track down people who are in the country illegally. Lamm, Gaylor Baird, and Kirkpatrick all agreed Lincoln is not a sanctuary city.
Kirkpatrick said Lincoln follows a practical approach when cooperating with federal authorities – holding illegal immigrants for ICE, but not without a clear indication that they’ll be picked up promptly.
Gaylor Baird said she’s proud of local law enforcement on being able to strike a middle ground.
“What LPD does not do is independently enforce federal immigration law. I’m proud of LPD for treating our citizens and residents with dignity and respect, regardless of citizenship,” Gaylor Baird said.