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Republican Fort Wayne mayoral candidates square off

Crawford and Smith talk issues before full house

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - The two well-funded Republican candidates met tonight in the first debate of the 2019 race for mayor of Fort Wayne.

City Council President Dr. John Crawford faced off against local business executive Tim Smith in an evening filled with few fireworks.

Answering "get to know me" questions to more serious issues, the two men differed most sharply in their tone while addressing Red River Waste Management. 

Crawford took "10% of the blame" as a member of City Council who, after advice from city department heads, was part of passing the Red River contract 9-0.

Smith called that an example of "contract malpractice." Smith said his years of dealing with business contracts would keep the city from making bad deals.

They seemed to agree on the need to fight violent crime in Fort Wayne but they differed on the methods.

Smith suggested a return to community oriented policing with more cops on neighborhood beats.
Crawford preferred more high tech surveillance cameras, smartly used in the city. 

"Why do we have 350 unsolved murders?" Smith asked. "Because we can't find witnesses, Why? A lack of trust. And why do we have a lack of trust? A lack of relationship, How do you build relationship? Person to person, one at a time, the old fashioned way."

"I agree that we have a witness problem," Crawford replied. "Guess what? If you have a high tech surveillance camera and film it, you don't need witnesses."

Documents filed in January show Crawford with $425,854 on hand; Smith reported $335,026.
Mayor Tom Henry (D) reported $542,206.

Smith is the Senior Vice President of Operations and Technology at MedPro.

Crawford is the Medical Director of Radiation Oncology Services at Parkview Regional Oncology Center.

The event was put on by Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana (YLNI) and held at the Arts United building. YLNI did not invite David Roach, the third Republican on the primary ballot.

Attendance was announced as a capacity crowd of 200 people.

The event was moderated by Andy Beckman of WMEE radio.


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