Fort Wayne mayoral candidates spar over jobs, crime

(WOWO News)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): Two of the three Republican Fort Wayne mayoral candidates spent an hour debating numerous issues Thursday night.

At a debate hosted by the Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana, City Councilman Dr. John Crawford and local businessman Tim Smith spoke on jobs, public safety, and infrastructure, among other topics.

Smith called out the Fort Wayne Police Department’s troubles getting witnesses to come forward as a sign there is a lack of trust from the community, while Crawford used the opportunity to say his proposal to install security cameras throughout specific areas of town would help improve that.

Smith claimed the city had lost 40,000 jobs over the past 35 years, and used his experience as an executive at MedPro as an example of his business smarts, saying “what we need is a mayor who travels around the country and sells the Fort Wayne value proposition, not a mayor who sits on their laurels and is happy and proud solely with what we’ve done.”

Crawford argued that in the past two decades there has been a “major transformation” for jobs and quality of life in Fort Wayne, and said he wants to continue that momentum, saying the long-term goal is to “attract as many young people (as possible) with the talent and the skills for the jobs of the future.”

Candidate David Roach did not participate in the debate.

“YLNI has held many events and publish candidate information brochures aimed at providing broad and neutral candidate information for area elections since 2007. We’ve invited Mr. Roach to participate in the past, but his response has been, ‘I do not pander to special interest groups, PACS or lobbyists,’” John Hudson, YLNI’s vice president of community impact, told the Journal Gazette. “YLNI aims to respect everyone’s position on issues, even if the organization does not agree.”

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