Mayor Tom Henry (D) is running for his fifth term as Fort Wayne mayor against City Councilman Tom Didier (R-3rd), and it’s likely to be a heated race.
Did you know: Dider beat Henry for his council seat 20 years ago in 1993? The Journal Gazette gives an overview of their personal and professional history.
We’ve compiled more information about each of their stances on key issues based on their responses to a Vote411.org survey and information available on their campaign websites.
Councilman Tom Didier (R)
- Zero-based budgeting (ZBB) appears to be his top priority. Dider plans to transform Fort Wayne’s budget by moving to a zero-based budget (ZBB) model. The pros: ZBBs can cut costs and provide more detailed scrutiny of city expenditures, theoretically offering greater transparency into where money is going, with a focus on performance measures. The cons: ZBBs require substantial time commitments from staff, and they sometimes prioritize short-term results over long-term benefits. (Learn more in this case study by the City of San Diego.)
- Other key issues he mentions: Prioritizing neighborhoods to reflect the investments in Downtown, community policing, supporting infrastructure like roads and sewers, addressing high infant mortality rates, increasing housing options, and empowering neighborhood leaders and small businesses.
- On the need for equitable representation in city jobs, boards and commissions: He sidesteps the diversity and inclusion element of the question, saying: “I want to have the best and brightest people working with me to build a new future for Fort Wayne....Working to promote a good working environment for them should help us attract more workers who will see working for Fort Wayne residents as a desirable career opportunity.”
- Learn more on his website.
Mayor Tom Henry (D)
- Public safety appears to be his top priority. Henry says violent crime is down for the second year in a row, and on his website, he says he plans to keep it that way by “maintaining a robust Fort Wayne Police Department that enjoys a full contingency of commissioned officers, and will recruit up to 500 new officers” as well as “supporting and enhancing an aggressive, yet culturally sensitive Gang and Violent Crime Unit.” He also plans to keep fighting the opioid crisis locally through proactive rehabilitation and prevention programs.
- Other key issues he mentions: Supporting K-12 education and the building trades to “meet current and future employment needs,” making Downtown and park improvements, continuing investment in Fort Wayne’s neighborhood infrastructure, attracting and retaining talent, and building a diversified economy.
- On the need for equitable representation in city jobs, boards and commissions: He pledges a commitment to diversity, inclusivity and equity in local leadership, saying: “I will continue to support and seek guidance from the Mayor's Opportunity Advisory Council, Fort Wayne UNITED, United Front, Disability Advisory Council, Metropolitan Human Relations Commission, and faith-based initiatives. The work we're doing in city government must reflect the populations we serve each day.”
- Learn more on his website.