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Candidates for Indiana governor face off in first debate

The candidates discussed topics including education, coronavirus and gun laws during the hour-long debate.

INDIANAPOLIS — The three candidates for Indiana governor held their first debate Tuesday night.

The debate started with an issue impacting parents across the state - funding Indiana schools.

"We made historic progress, but I'm so excited about continuing to make sure parents have the option to best determine where their student goes," Gov. Eric Holcomb said.

"What we need to do in Indiana is make sure when money is allocated to educate a child, that money follows that child," said Libertarian candidate Donald Rainwater.

"We have the superintendents throughout our state creating referendums in order to get the communities to fund the dollars that are required. The state should be providing those dollars. We're just not putting enough into the system," said Dr. Woody Myers, the Democratic candidate for governor.

Indiana Gubernatorial Debate: Education

With the recent spike in COVID-19 cases across our state, it's no surprise the pandemic response was also a big talker at Tuesday's debate.

"It's just like a seat belt. It's just like wearing shoes in a restaurant. It's just like fire codes. They're meant for safety procedures. We're in an emergency, a public health emergency," Holcomb said of the state's mask mandate.

"Nowhere in the Constitution does it say your rights are suspended during a crisis or a pandemic," said Rainwater.

"Our positivity rate is going up and our hospitals are filling up. We do not have a mask mandate in Indiana. We have a mask suggestion. A mandate has consequences," Myers said.

Indiana Gubernatorial Debate: Coronavirus pandemic

Questions for the debate were submitted from Indiana voters, including several which asked the candidates how they would help struggling businesses recover from the pandemic.

"We have the environment and the ecosystem to grow. What we have to do is make sure we're continuing to build a bridge to the other side of COVID-19," Holcomb said.

"COVID-19 didn't close any small businesses. Executive orders did," said Rainwater.

"As governor, I will do everything I can to re-energize small business leadership in Indiana by helping businesses cut through government red tape and get their businesses started," said Myers.

Indiana Gubernatorial Debate: Business assistance

The candidates also discussed topics including the economy, the environment and gun laws, before closing on a question about the role of government.

Watch their responses to those issues below: 

Indiana Gubernatorial Debate: Taxes

Indiana Gubernatorial Debate: Environment and economy

Indiana Gubernatorial Debate: Gun laws and violence

Indiana Gubernatorial Debate: Governor's powers

Indiana Gubernatorial Debate: Role of government