The Journal Gazette
Sunday, September 29, 2019 1:00 am

Henry, Smith praise each other's commitment

NIKI KELLY and BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

In an unusual move for a political debate, Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry and Republican challenger Tim Smith were asked by Wednesday's moderator to compliment each other.

Henry and Smith squared off during a mayoral debate hosted by Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana.

“I've said twice that I respect the mayor for his longevity, and that is sincere,” Smith said. “Anybody who's served a long time in public service when they probably could have been making more money doing something else absolutely has my respect. I think the mayor has been an excellent steward of Fort Wayne resources. He's a joyful leader who clearly likes his job. He's a great PR guy. I think he has the best interests of Fort Wayne in mind.”

Henry made note of Smith's passion for giving back to the community, noting that he first met his challenger two years ago as Smith began to explore an interest in public service.

“That passion in the last two years – and we've met from time to time – hasn't left,” Henry said. “And that's what it takes if you're going to be involved in public service, because you're right, it's not for the money. It's to serve your fellow man.”

Voters will decide between Smith and Henry in the Nov. 5 general election.

Perfect timing

Former Indiana Statehouse Press Corps member Tom LoBianco couldn't have scripted a better book launch week.

His book “Piety & Power: Mike Pence and the Taking of the White House” hit the shelves last week during an impeachment furor – leading many to ask what a Pence White House would look like.

Enter LoBianco, who entertained that question and others while visiting NPR's “Fresh Air,” MSNBC's “Morning Joe” and CNN's “New Day” along with many, many more.

One Twitter follower asked LoBianco “how did you arrange for all this to happen the week your book came out?” And LoBianco responded, “Not me, I was shocked.”

GOP hopeful releases video

Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Roth officially launched his campaign last week with the tagline “United But Independent Indiana.”

The leadership consultant posted a video at that explains why he is running against incumbent Gov. Eric Holcomb.

“We believe you do deserve a choice in the primary,” he said.

Roth grew up in Upland and received a degree in physics from Taylor University before serving in the U.S. Navy for 22 years. He worked for power companies before returning to Indiana a few years ago to start a leadership training company.

Roth said he is not looking for a job but another opportunity to serve, and promised to donate his salary to charity. He also said he would serve only one term. To qualify for the May ballot, he must collect 4,500 petition signatures.

Election worker recognition

The Allen County Election Board has created an award to honor an election worker making a difference for voters. 

The Jeanne Nicolet Delivering Democracy Award will be presented after every Allen County election to recognize the work of an outstanding election worker, a news release from the Election Board said Friday. The award is named after Jeanne Nicolet, who served as the Allen County assistant director of elections and as an election volunteer and worker for more than 30 years.

“Jeanne passed away in July 2019, but will always be remembered for her hard work, loyalty, integrity, friendship and absolute dedication to fair and accurate elections in Allen County,” the news release said. 

The person who wins the award will have demonstrated exceptional effort and service while working as an election worker for the Allen County Election Board. Nominations will be accepted at the election board office or online at through Nov. 8.

The winning nominee will be recognized by members of the election board at its Nov. 15 meeting. 

Dave Gong of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column. 

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at or Niki Kelly at An expanded Political Notebook can also be found as a daily blog at

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