At-Large & 2nd District City Council Hopefuls Debate At IPFW

By John W. Davis

April 18, 2011 Updated Nov 6, 2013 at 12:44 AM EST

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Imagine having the power to create laws and control a $180 million dollar budget. That's the life of a Fort Wayne City Council member.

Indiana's NewsCenter attended two debates Monday night.

Both were hosted by the IPFW Chapter of the Indiana Federation of College Republicans.

Four Republican candidates are running for three At-Large Fort Wayne City Council seats.

Republicans Ivan Hood, John Crawford, and Tom Freistroffer participated in the 50 minute debate.

Incumbent Marty Bender, who is running for re-election, did not attend the debate.

Bender told Indiana's NewsCenter that he had a prior engagement.

Indiana's NewsCenter asked the same two questions to all the candidates.

1. What's the number one political issues in Fort Wayne?

2. What's your plan to fix it?

"As a council representative we need to get out more in our community," said Republican At-Large City Council Candidate Ivan Hood.

"Knocking on doors and talking to people that are actually voting for us. The people definitely want to be involved, I've been knocking doors, people say they feel like their input is not counted for, so that's why they don't show up to events like this," continued Hood.

"Keeping taxes low, keeping regulations to a minimum and working on the quality of life of Fort Wayne," said Republican At-Large City Council Candidate John Crawford.

"Those are the three things that will bring businesses to Fort Wayne, make 'em expand their businesses, higher people. Those are things we can do on city council," explained Crawford.

"Sometimes I hear it takes three months for a business to get its permits and signatures," said Republican At-Large City Council Candidate Tom Freistroffer.

"I think we need to cut that down to 72 hours. So I think attracting new businesses in our downtown area and our suburbs and jobs are really the main issues," explained Freistroffer.

Only three of the four candidates will earn the Republican Party nomination to fun for At-Large Council on the November general election ballot.

Meanwhile, three Republican 2nd District City Council candidates also debated Monday night at IPFW.

Those candidates are Jerome Gaines, Kurt Gutman and Russ Jehl.

Indiana's NewsCenter asked the same two questions to all the candidates.

1. What's the number one political issues in Fort Wayne?

2. What's your plan to fix it?

"It's fiscal responsibility," responded 2nd District Republican City Council Candidate Russ Jehl.

"I'm very upset that we are bringing in four dollars, spending five and adding 80 million dollars a year to our debt and calling it a balanced budget," continued Jehl.

"Infrastructure, you know, basic city services such as snow removal, leaf removal, trash, i mean that's what hits people home," said 2nd District Republican City Council Candidate Kurt Gutman.

"Jobs and crime and just making sure that the services that the city provides are delivered to the customers, the taxpayers," answered 2nd District Republican City Council Candidate Jerome Gaines.

The primary election is Tuesday, May 3.




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