Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry made it official Monday: he's seeking a fourth term.
He announced his candidacy for the May 2019 Democratic primary before a standing room-only crowd minutes north of downtown at a Franklin School Park pavilion decorated in blue and yellow.
Fort Wayne City Councilman John Crawford announced his candidacy for the Republican mayoral bid in April. He is expected to face businessman Tim Smith in the primary.
Mayor since 2008, Henry said he isn't ready to leave the leadership position. If re-elected, he would be the city's first mayor to serve four consecutive, four-year terms, according to a press release.
For about 10 minutes, Henry spoke of the city's accomplishments and accolades in the last decade. Fort Wayne's progress is one most cities would envy, he said.
“The citizens of this community mean more to me than anything because without you believing in our mission, without you believing in where we want to take our city, we have no city,” Henry said. “And that's the reason I'm standing before you again today because I truly believe that we've only just begun.”
Henry's brief speech didn't delve into specifics, but campaign materials given to reporters indicate his administration would focus on good stewardship of taxpayer money, public safety, continuation of the city's recent economic prosperity, and neighborhood improvements.
He held his campaign announcement at Franklin School Park because it's a neighborhood park, he said after his speech. He noted he grew up nearby.
“This is my neighborhood,” he said.
His pledges include committing nearly $30 million annually in neighborhood infrastructure improvements; investing in parks and trails; supporting and enhancing an aggressive, culturally sensitive Gang and Violent Crime Unit; and pursuing a public nuisance lawsuit against opioid distributors.
To the crowd in David Hefner Pavilion, Henry offered principles for residents to follow, guidelines he asked of citizens when he first ran: care for one another more than anything is wise; risk more than others think is safe; expect more from each other than others think is possible; and dream more than others think is practical.
“My friends, if we can use that as a foundation for the city of Fort Wayne as we enter into the next decade, I assure you that we will go no place but up,” Henry said, “that we will truly become the kind of city that we have the potential to be.”