As residents took their seats in the Kingsford High School auditorium, the 11 candidates prepared for their opening statements.
A major part of the debate centered on the 108th District state representative race between Ed McBroom, a Republican from Vulcan, and Sharon Gray, a Democrat from Rapid River.
McBroom expressed how he's helped Michigan since being in office by helping get small businesses tax breaks.
"We got rid of the Michigan business tax which is a silly tax that actually punished businesses on years they did worse," said McBroom. "On years they made less money, they paid more taxes."
When Gray made her opening statement, she accused McBroom of showing no support for the unemployed.
"Many people have lost their jobs, have exhausted their unemployment benefits, which McBroom voted to cut by six weeks," said Gray. "Some people are now working two jobs for the one job they had previously."
Later during the question and answer session, McBroom expressed that he believes one key to a better economy is through career-based education, telling voters "this is where the jobs are".
His opponent challenged that statement by arguing that McBroom voted to cut education by one billion dollars. Gray continued that "we need to improve vocational and career courses," but went on to say it's difficult when the funding constantly changes.