MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Democratic gubernatorial candidate Walt Maddox said it is senseless that Alabama doesn't have a state lottery when surrounding states do.

Speaking at a Tuesday candidate forum before retired state and education employees, Maddox said state leaders have failed to address the state's longstanding problems in education and health care, mental health and prisons.

The Tuscaloosa mayor is running for governor on a platform of establishing a lottery to fund education and expanding the state's Medicaid program.

Maddox said a lottery would provide college scholarships and prekindergarten programs. Expanding Medicaid, he said, would stop the closure of rural hospitals.

The Democratic candidate continued to criticize incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey's refusal to debate him.

Maddox said Ivey apparently, "doesn't believe that the people of Alabama are worthy of such a debate."

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.