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Women seeking city council at-large slots share priorities in ‘Conversation With the Candidates’ segment

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – Two women running on the Democratic Party ticket for city council at-large seats say it’s time to add more gender diversity on the fiscal panel.

“We have a lot of men at the table, we have a lot of Caucasians at the table,” said MaryClare Akers, who wants a seat on city council partially to give a stronger voice to groups in the city she believes aren’t getting heard at the moment.

Meet the Candidate: MaryClare Akers (D)

Akers is executive director of the Allen County Drug and Alcohol Consortium.

She has an extensive history in social work, and feels like citizens from lower educational backgrounds and income levels too often are forgotten when government panels like city council sit down to do business.

“I think having an understanding and openness to the different populations that we serve is important to be represented at the table, and I don’t feel like it’s represented now,” she said.

Akers is a newcomer to this process.

Democrat Michelle Chambers is taking a second shot at landing a city council at-large seat.

She was the top Democrat vote-getter four years ago, but still couldn’t beat out any of the Republicans who were on the ballot and the GOP claimed all three at-large slots.

Meet the Candidate: Michelle Chambers (D)

If elected, Chambers says she’s ready to serve day one.

“I really won’t have a learning curve, because I’ve had the responsibility of putting budgets together, public service budgets together before,” the local business owner said.

Republican Eric Tippmann says there’s no reason for voters to question his fitness to serve or his integrity, despite the fact he had to fight off challenges about his residency.

The assistant professor of Chemistry at Purdue Fort Wayne survived attempts to have his name thrown off the primary ballot.

Meet the Candidate: Eric Tippmann (R)

The Allen County Election Board in February, by a 2 to 1 vote along party lines, denied formal challenges filed over his family’s decision to live short-term in a different residence than what was listed on his campaign filing document.

The Tippmanns are living temporarily in a place near Lakeside Park, so it’s easier to get their daughter to ballet rehearsals.

Tippmann says he has done nothing wrong, but says he can stand up under the pressure, when critics “hurl accusations and half-truths” his way.

Tippmann, who is a former Allen County Council member, says he would bring a scientific mindset to council in dealing with difficult issues.

Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer is a reporter for WPTA.

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