The Journal Gazette
Sunday, November 03, 2019 1:00 am

Smith slams Henry for 'twisting facts' on city ties

BRIAN FRANCISCO and NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

Fort Wayne's Republican mayoral candidate took issue with one of Mayor Tom Henry's campaign ads, accusing the Democratic mayor of intentionally misleading voters regarding Tim Smith's connection to the city.

The ad ran on TV and was posted to Facebook on Wednesday. In it, Henry accuses Smith of “twisting facts and distorting the truth,” and he touts the city's bond rating and cites data from Greater Fort Wayne Inc. that states Fort Wayne has one of the lowest tax rates for a city its size, as well as a study from WalletHub that ranked Fort Wayne as one of the country's best-run cities.

“Tim Smith moved into Fort Wayne just over five years ago and now he's running a negative smear campaign for mayor,” Henry says, looking directly into the camera. “Maybe where Tim's from, people accept negative campaigns, but in Fort Wayne, we expect better from our candidates.”

In a news release Thursday, Joe Knepper, communications director for the Smith campaign, criticized the ad, stating Smith's contention that the city's long-term debt has increased 230% and that wage growth is much lower than the national average.

“The truth is, Tom Henry knows of Tim's history and deep roots in Fort Wayne; yet he would rather mislead voters than tell the truth in an attempt to hold onto power,” he said.

In his statement, Knepper said Smith was born at Lutheran Hospital on Fairfield Avenue in 1968. His family relocated to Texas for three years while his father attended seminary before returning to Allen County.

Knepper said Smith was a student at then-IPFW from 1986 to 1990, where he played baseball and worked first at General Motors, followed by Food Marketing.

After college, Smith stayed in Fort Wayne to work on a congressional campaign and to campaign for former Mayor Paul Helmke, Knepper said, adding that Smith and his wife moved out of Allen County so Smith could attend law school.

Knepper said Smith returned to the area in 1994 to start a career at MedPro, adding that Smith has been on several boards over the past 25 years, including Greater Fort Wayne Inc. and the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.

Holiday spirit

It was a “Jurassic Park”-themed night at the Governor's Residence for Halloween.

Gov. Eric Holcomb donned a scientist costume while First Lady Janet Holcomb went as a velociraptor. Their beloved schnauzer Henry also got in the spirit as the cutest triceratops you've ever seen.

The Holcombs passed out candy donated by Frankfort-based Zachary Confections to hundreds of area children.

Halloween at the residence has turned into an event in recent years. Some of the themes have been the Indiana Pacers, “Alice in Wonderland,” “The Addams Family,” “Grease,” the Indianapolis Colts and cowboys.

Seeking Fellows

Gov. Holcomb is looking for a few good women and men.

His office is accepting applications through Feb. 28 for the 2020-21 Governor's Fellowship.

The Governor's Fellowship is highly selective and provides a unique experience in Indiana state government by placing fellows in various state agencies on a rotating basis throughout the year.

“Our Governor's Fellows are such a valuable piece to our team,” Holcomb said. “The wide range of assistance they provide over the course of their fellowship is key to serving Hoosiers in a timely and thorough manner.”

The program is open to college graduates who receive their bachelor's degrees in either fall 2019 or spring 2020. Fellows are paid, full-time employees who participate in the day-to-day activities of state government.

Many Governor's Fellow participants have gone on to successful careers in both the public and private sectors, with some serving at the highest levels of local, state and federal government.

The application and submission guidelines can be found online at

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

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