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Mayoral candidates talk jobs in Rochester during debate

A Democratic mayoral debate was held at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center Tuesday. The debate was sponsored by the Rochester Rotary. (WHAM photo)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- President Donald Trump has landed himself in Rochester's mayoral race with a recent comment to the Wall Street Journal about upstate New Yorkers.

"When you have an area that just isn't working like upper New York state, where people are getting very badly hurt, and then you'll have another area 500 miles away where you can't get people, I'm going to explain, you can leave,” President Trump said.

The comments set off some debate of their own during a Democratic mayoral debate at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center Tuesday. The debate was sponsored by the Rochester Rotary.

President Trump said New Yorkers must move to find work. Rachel Barnhart agreed with the president.

"You're right, but you're late,” she said.

Barnhart says a new fiber infrastructure would attract thousands of jobs and says right now the city is short on economic opportunities.

"We have to start talking about policies, policies that help the maximum amount of people and get our economy going again,” said Barnhart.

Mayor Lovely Warren disagrees. She says her office is focused on new technology and advanced manufacturing with MCC playing a role. Warren says it's working.

"We are the fastest growing city for millennials than any other upstate city and that is telling you that something. When you look all over our city you are seeing development,” said Warren.

James Sheppard says manufacturing jobs are a thing of the past. He believes a focus on new technology, like photonics, will help the city. Sheppard says in addition, training is key.

"I think it's important that this community has faith that we can provide jobs. In addition to providing jobs we have to provide a workforce that is educated and able to take advantage of them,” said Sheppard.

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