Thursday night, Bloomington mayoral candidate John Hamilton and incumbent Mark Kruzan went head-to-head during an hour-long debate hosted by WFIU / WTIU. (Watch archived video of the debate here.)
The Democratic candidates were in agreement when opposing the construction of I-69 through Monroe County, but had different responses when it came to subjects like economic development, affordable housing, and sustainability.
Tension between the candidates was high when it came to discussion surrounding the possible relocation of the Bloomington Hospital. Hamilton, while acknowledging Kruzan’s intentions to keep the hospital downtown so as to make it more accessible for everyone, accused the mayor of not actually coming up with a plan three years after the fact.
Kruzan then pointed out that the Bloomington Hospital was not accepting any of his proposed plans and criticized what Hamilton proposed to do.
“He’s now saying,” Kruzan said, “that he would have made the hospital take a plan from government or that these public meetings that we tried to get the hospital to engage in, he would have held without them. That’s an amazing thing to say we’re going to embarrass an employer publicly because they won’t participate, and they’ve asked to not have meetings held.”
Hamilton defended himself in saying his only intention is to protect the hospital, whether that means holding meetings with or without the hospital. He said it’s important to hold these meetings so the community can have an active discussion surrounding this issue.
“I’ve knocked doors,” he said, “in the shadow of the hospital. I’ve knocked doorways where people answer and they do not know that the hospital is planning to move. We need a community dialogue about that.”
The primary election between Kruzan and Hamilton will be held on May 3.