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How does each of Terre Haute's mayoral candidates feel about bringing a new casino to town?

We asked each candidate: "Several community leaders are advocating to bring a casino to Terre Haute. Is this something you think would be a positive or negative for our community and why?"

Posted: Oct 21, 2019 6:15 PM
Updated: Oct 31, 2019 1:31 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - On November 5, Terre Haute residents will head to the polls for a municipal election.

One of the things voters will be deciding...who will be the city's new mayor?

This week, we will speak with each of the four candidates - each night, asking a different question.

We asked the candidates - Independent Pat Goodwin, Democrat Karrum Nasser, Independent Shane Meehan, and Republican incumbent Duke Bennett the same question: "Several community leaders are advocating to bring a casino to Terre Haute. Is this something you think would be a positive or negative for our community and why?"

LINK | WHAT IS THE POSSIBLE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF A CASINO IN VIGO COUNTY?

Independent Pat Goodwin
"I think it can be a positive but it's all in how we execute. There are so many decisions that we as a community need to make before the casino gets here and that includes how the tax revenue that we'll receive as local units of government..how it gets spent? And there's a local development agreement that the casino will sign with local government officials. And that can um that can be a lot of different things for the community. We have to decide as a community what we want in that agreement."

Republican incumbent Duke Bennett
"Its always from the beginning it's been an economic development opportunity for us and I really pushed hard one to get that opportunity before us but then two...to make sure there was a referendum as part of the bill. At one time that referendum came out - came back in..came out. Because I wanted voters here to decide do they want a casino or not? I just wanted that opportunity to come. So, when you talk about somebody who's going to invest 150 million dollars and hire 500 construction workers for a couple of years then 400 full-time employees that is a huge economic opportunity for us."

LINK | MISSED THE OCTOBER 2ND MAYORAL FORUM? WATCH NOW

Democrat Karrum Nasser
"I think it's a positive. I have been up to the statehouse both times we had an opportunity to speak before the ways and means committee and I do support it because I think it's an opportunity for us to generate extra revenue for the city. It's going to be based on people going into the casino, spending money there and I also consider it another entertainment avenue where people can go and spend their entertainment dollars."

Independent Shane Meehan
"My belief is I feel that it would be a negative. Just because of my worries of what it would do to the local businesses here in town, local economy um a lot of people would be spending more time in a casino than spending money in our local businesses. So, I have concerns with that. That's one of my biggest concerns as far as the casino goes...what's it going to do to our local economy and as far as ya know being a poor town..a lot of people going to the casino..possibly spending money they don't have in there."

We've attached the extended interviews with each candidate with this story.

On Tuesday, we will ask the candidates about bringing good-paying jobs to Terre Haute.

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