HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Even in the friendliest political forum, the incumbent is always the hunted with challengers looking for opportunities to score.
"The streets are still a disaster. We just flooded 100,000 houses. The Flood Czar says we are no better prepared than we were in 2017," said mayoral candidate Bill King.
"Mayor Turner can say what we need now. He had four years to demonstrate it and you have to ask yourself the question - is it in your community?" said mayoral candidate Dwight Boykins.
"We're fighting with our firefighters in court about providing them fair pay. There's corruption that's rampant at City Hall. There is waste that is rampant and we can't even pick up the trash on time," said mayoral candidate Tony Buzbee.
But after 32 months in office, Sylvester Turner is waging a spirited defense.
Before the heavily Hispanic East End Chamber he drew applause with praise for two of his most high-profile appointments.
"I am so proud to have Sam Pena as the fire chief and Chief Acevedo as police chief, both of whom I brought to the City of Houston," said Turner.
On the nagging threats posed by east side pollution and frequent ship channel explosions, like the ITC fire, challenger Tony Buzbee accused the mayor of failed leadership.
"I have represented more than a hundred thousand people hurt or injured because of air quality issues and as your mayor, I will not allow these corporations to pull the wool over my eyes," said Buzbee.
Mayor Turner was quick to fire back.
"If you want a trial lawyer, get a trial lawyer, but right now we are talking about being the mayor, okay?" said Turner.
On the issue of air quality, candidate Sue Lovell proposed equipping city sanitation trucks with air quality monitors and cracking down on violators.
"I support District Attorney Kim Ogg for going after the people, the industry down there, because I think the only way to get their attention is to make them pay a penalty," said Lovell.