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Wednesday, October 26, 2016 10:03 pm

Henry exhorts support for Bayh

Brian Francisco | The Journal Gazette

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry preached to the choir Wednesday.

The Democratic mayor urged about 20 local Democrats who had gathered at Allen County Democratic Party Headquarters to support Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Evan Bayh.

"You know Evan Bayh, I know Evan Bayh," Henry told the audience. "He has stood up over the years for students, for seniors, for union workers and has fought to help Medicare and all of the programs that we as Hoosiers deserve."

Bayh has done little in-person campaigning in Fort Wayne. He attended a Labor Day picnic at Headwaters Park, the Fort Wayne Air Show and the local Democrats’ annual fundraising dinner, and he visited Democratic headquarters last week to thank volunteers, but he otherwise has let surrogates speak on his behalf.

Henry told reporters that Bayh had asked Democratic mayors "to do the ground work for him" in northern Indiana while Bayh concentrates on the central and southern parts of the state.

Bayh’s campaign said he has made appearances this week in Indianapolis and Terre Haute and has stops planned in Jennings and White counties.

The former senator and ex-governor is opposed in the Nov. 8 election by Republican U.S. Rep. Todd Young, who is scheduled to appear tonight at the Allen County Republican Party’s annual Reagan Bean Dinner. Young was in Fort Wayne last week at county GOP headquarters to discuss issues affecting military veterans.

Young campaigned Wednesday in Greenwood, where former Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina endorsed him.

Henry was joined Wednesday by United Auto Workers Local 2209 bargaining chairman Rich LeTourneau, who works at the General Motors truck assembly plant in southwest Allen County, and Democratic Party volunteer Liz Scott. They said Young has taken positions that would have harmed the U.S. auto industry, Medicare recipients and college students who obtain loans or Pell grants.

LeTourneau said that when Bayh voted in 2009 in favor of the government’s bailout of General Motors and Chrysler, he helped save 4,000 jobs at the local GM plant and 96,000 jobs at its suppliers in northeast Indiana. 

"What Evan Bayh did is what any good politician should do: put your stake in the American worker, not the Chinese economy, not the Mexican economy," LeTourneau said. 

Henry praised Bayh for working with former Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., to obtain federal funding to finance much of the construction of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Bridge over the St. Marys River.

The third-term mayor encouraged Democrats to vote straight tickets, saying that "it would be foolish for anybody not to vote the Democratic side and stay there because that’s the kind of leadership that we need in our state representing those of us who have tried to contribute so hard all of our lives to make Indiana the state that it should be."

bfrancisco@jg.net