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Two council incumbents and a mayoral challenger speak out in ‘Conversation With the Candidates’

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – Running for a city elected office can be a daunting task.

Less than three weeks to the primary election, some key races figure to be highly competitive.

Two incumbent city council members are hoping to win the favor of voters, including one long-time councilman who is running for a different seat this time around.

Democrat Glynn Hines has been on city council for 20 years, representing the sixth district, covering much of the southeast side.

But in 2019, he’s pursuing an at-large seat, to represent the city as a whole.

Meet the Candidate: Glynn Hines (D)

Kidney failure through 2018 left him ill and convinced he would retire.

He endorsed Sharon Tucker to run for his seat in the sixth.

A kidney transplant in December restored his health and his hunger to serve.

He says, if elected, he won’t forget his roots, setting a priority to push for more southeast development.

“If Fort Wayne was a ship and there was a hole in the ship, the whole ship sinks or it doesn’t float as well as it could. And I think the southeast still has that hole,” Hines said.

Republican Michael Barranda addressed the ongoing problems associated with new city trash collector Red River Waste Solutions.

He admits, regarding the handling of that contract, there’s plenty of blame to go around.

“We all have to take blame, including myself. Now, were we required to take the low bidder, yes. But at the same time, we also had to vett the companies and make sure that they were the lowest responsible bidder,” Barranda said.

Barranda is wrapping up his first four year term.

Meet the Candidate: Michael Barranda (R)

The lawyer, a Notre Dame grad, serves on a number of boards, as well as holding down a seat on the city’s fiscal body.

Barranda believes the city is on a roll, seeing tremendous gains in downtown development and in infrastructure upgrades.

But there’s room for improvement, he says, most notably in terms of the Democrat mayor and Republican controlled council working together in crafting a budget.

“It has been a closed door, we haven’t been able to do that, it has always been, here’s the mayor’s budget, and we slash it, and that’s a difficult process when it’s just one-sided,” he said.

Meanwhile, a woman running for Fort Wayne mayor hopes voters will give her serious consideration as she takes on the big task of opposing incumbent Democrat Tom Henry on May 7th.

Burgess says she has a track record of helping launch business startups and with coordinating fund-raising for non-profits.

Meet the Candidate: Gina Burgess (D)

Burgess insists Henry has had a rough last four years on the job, citing an increase in the homicide rate in 2018 and all the problems that stem from the selection of Red River Waste Solutions.

She thinks Henry should shoulder much of the blame for those issues.

“That was a city-wide problem that affected all of the districts pretty evenly. There has just been a lot of those things, so if you’re happy, then by all means, you should vote Democrat and vote for the incumbent. And if you’re not happy, you should still vote Democrat, but vote for his opposition, mainly me,” Burgess said.

Tommy Schrader is the third candidate running for Fort Wayne mayor on the Democratic Party ticket.

Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer is a reporter for WPTA.

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