SAVANNAH, GA –  Can the next generation of city leaders fix Savannah’s problems?

A meeting held tonight focused on the major issues by asking community leaders and people who have worked in public administrations to determine the biggest priorities for those seeking to earn a city-wide office in two months.

Those who spoke at Emergent Savannah’s community forum overwhelmingly say this city election needs to be about fixing the city’s economic wealth gaps and shortfalls instead of power and politics.

“For the last twenty years we’ve had nothing but economic growth and expansion so why do we have a chronic twenty eight percent poverty level, I think selfishness is somewhere buried in that answer,” says forum candidates and former county commissioner John McMasters.

More than one in four Savannah residents lives beneath the poverty level. It’s an issue hypothetical candidates at the Emergent Savannah mayoral forum say prior administrations have failed to help reduce.

“Poverty is very much a real aspect of Savannah and our community and we need to be very proactive about doing something about it,” says long time Savannah resident and minister of outreach Rev. Michael Chaney.

Candidates shared ideas such as creating clauses in city contracts allowing people living under the poverty level to intern on projects learning hands on skills, a raise in wage for tourist industry workers, and the providing of more innovative jobs for ways to combat poverty.

With more than 37,000 city residents living in poverty it marks the gorilla in the room right next to and as a contributor of the ongoing crime problem.

“We need to have a better system in place that can help better educate our children and better prepare them for jobs, and bring more jobs to our community than we can reduce the direct job in crime rates,” says George Seaborough, Twickenham Neighborhood Association President.

You can see the real candidates for mayor tackle these issues and share their platforms for them in two weeks. The Savannah Jaycees will host the Savannah mayoral candidates Monday September 28th at 6 pm at the Coastal Georgia Center.