Urban League Fort Wayne Mayoral Debate

By Max Resnik
By Katrina Helmer

Credit: Max Resnik

About 35 residents attended the debate at the Public Safety Academy.

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    About 35 residents attended the debate at the Public Safety Academy.

    (Max Resnik)

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October 29, 2011 Updated Oct 24, 2013 at 7:37 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) -- Saturday afternoon’s Fort Wayne mayoral debate, hosted by the Urban League, started with fireworks as Republican Nominee and challenger Paula Hughes called Incumbent Mayor Democrat Tom Henry a liar.

Moderated by Indiana's NewsCenter's John W. Davis, a panel from the Fort Wayne Urban League asked the candidates an array of questions pertaining to minority unemployment and the status of the southeast side of the City of Fort Wayne.

Republican Nominee and challenger Paula Hughes began the debate by calling incumbent Mayor Democrat Tom Henry a liar for the mailers the Indiana State Democratic Party is sending to the community, in reference to her not paying taxes.

Independent challenger Haley Ahrendt said he was not there to complain. Ahrendt says he can empathize with those in the community who are struggling. He says he can help find jobs for both college grads and those who never went to college. Ahrendt also called for reforms to the Fort Wayne Police Department saying there are too many administrative positions and not enough police. He says retailers tell him that petty crime is up despite Mayor Henry's comments that crime is down.

Henry is focused on the jobs he says he helped create or sustain. He says he's provided great, quality city services without having to make cuts to fire departments or police like other cities in the state. He says crime is down and police and firefighters are keeping their jobs.

Hughes, as she has since winning her party’s nomination, said that Mayor Henry is paid too much, is the highest paid mayor in the state and should not be driving a car paid for by the taxpayer. Henry fired back saying that per capita, he makes less money than the mayor of Columbia City. He also said that driving the city’s 2008 Chevy is a very small burden on the taxpayer. In response to both, Ahrendt said that no one should be chided for making money.

About 35 residents are in the audience.

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