Mayoral candidates agree to a debate

Mayor Tom Henry (D) (left) and mayoral candidate Mitch Harper (R) (right)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The two Fort Wayne mayoral candidates will square off in a debate a week before the election.

Incumbent Democratic mayor Tom Henry and Republican city councilman Mitch Harper agreed to the debate Tuesday. WANE-TV and the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics will host it.

“It’s important for voters to see candidates give answers to questions and it’s not the standard answers we’ve heard,” Andy Downs with the Mike Downs Center said. “Watch how they interact with one another and how they take it when one person asks a question or they have an opportunity to ask a question. You’ll get some insight into how they operate.”

The moderated debate will cover three main topic areas: Downtown and Community Development, Fort Wayne Safety and the Future of Fort Wayne. Moderators will ask questions and then each candidate will also have the chance to ask their opponent one question in those topics.

“I’m looking forward to the debate,” Harper said. “It gives the public an opportunity to see both candidates and make a direct comparison, see what the contrasts are between the two and the competing visions. As the non-incumbent, folks are probably going to be interested in hearing a little more about what I have to say and the vision I have to share.”

Henry also said he’s happy there will be a debate.

“There are a number of issues facing our city and a number of areas we’ve been working on for several years. It’s important for the voters, before going to the polls, to understand where I’m coming from as the current mayor and where my opponent is coming from as far as his perspective on how the city should be run,” Henry said.

The debate will be held Monday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. at the Walb Student Union at IPFW. Tickets will be available through the two campaigns, but the debate will be televised live on WANE-TV.

“I expect a very substantive discussion,” Downs said. “We have someone who’s been mayor for eight years and also had several years as a council member. Then we have Mitch Harper who has a very long history in politics and governing. If these two can’t have a substantive discussion I’m not certain who can. I expect both of them to make specific proposal suggestions and I expect them to challenge one another in a good, productive sort of way that benefits us as voters.”

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3.

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