FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): This morning, Fort Wayne City Councilman Dr. John Crawford outlined the big topics his mayoral campaign will focus on.
Crawford held a press conference at the Allen County Republican Party headquarters at 10am, and told our partners in news at ABC 21 some of the priorities for what he calls a “nuclear” campaign include fiscal responsibility, opiate use reduction, economic development, greater collaboration with elected officials, and more of a focus on reducing crime.
- Fiscal Responsibility: Crawford believes the City needs maximum fiscal responsibility with minimum regulation on business to keep more money in the private sector. He will start with a zero-based budget to reorder priorities and cut costs. Major battles with the present Mayor to eliminate collective bargaining and enact a pay-to-play ordinance have already saved money. Much more can be done.
- Opiate Use Reduction and Public Health: Opioid addiction is spreading through our community and treatment must be the priority. The primary approach must be to increase availability of treatment with more drug rehab programs. Doctors should use opiates only as a last resort for pain and routinely check the Inspect program to be sure patients are not getting multiple prescriptions from multiple providers. The City needs to be a leader in coordinating local resources, breaking down silos, and better planning how to combat this epidemic. In addition, Crawford’s leadership on Council was responsible for passing the most comprehensive smoking ordinance in the state, which has prevented premature death for hundreds of citizens.
- Crime: Fort Wayne had 49 homicides last year, and the City’s crime-fighting strategies need to evolve and get tougher. Crime will be reduced with more emphasis and treatment in fighting the opiate addiction crisis. We need to arrest drug dealers and gang bangers and prosecute them to the full extent. The biggest problem in solving homicides is that some witnesses won’t come forward to tell what they know. Police and prosecutors will have difficulty solving these cases and bringing the killers to justice unless this reluctance of witnesses to testify is reversed. Often they fear for their own safety; more witness protection should reduce that fear. We also need new-long term strategies, like the Fort Wayne United program, to help young people find a better path to the future. We need to monitor the program’s outcome data and metrics to be sure it is effective.
- Economic Development: Crawford’s vote – unpopular at the time – to develop the new downtown baseball stadium helped launched Fort Wayne’s downtown revival and directly led to the increased private development we are now seeing. Crawford has been a leader for riverfront development and fought on Council to keep that moving as a first-class project by securing adequate funding. He also believes that Electric Works is the greatest economic development project the City has ever seen, and he supports moving quickly to secure the local match of funds needed to bring $100 million into Fort Wayne’s economy from state and federal tax credits.
- Greater Collaboration with Elected Officials: Crawford believes that more collaborative leadership from the Mayor is needed. As Mayor, Crawford would meet regularly with the Allen County Commissioners, other elected local officials and other community leaders to work together better. He would attend City Council’s first meeting of the year to wish all well for the coming year, and would meet monthly with the council president and regularly with other council members. He would occasionally discuss important issues with Council at the Council table.
Crawford will seek the Republican Party’s nomination in 2019, and so will Med Pro executive Tim Smith. Current Mayor Tom Henry hasn’t said yet if he’ll be running for a fourth term.