On November 3rd Indiana voters will elect representatives for mayor, city council, and clerk. These offices don’t headline the national news, but in many ways, they can affect our community as much, if not more, than any other offices. They are positions held by our neighbors, our co-workers, and our peers, and they’ll help guide Fort Wayne through this inspirational rise in civic engagement and pride.
Just 10 to 15 years ago Fort Wayne was seeing its young professionals moving to Indianapolis, Chicago and other locales after graduating from college. Recently, however, there has been a shift and more graduates are considering job opportunities right here in Fort Wayne.
This year’s election will place leaders who determine what this city has to offer to help retain and attract talent. Additionally, it will shape the type of community our children and grandchildren will grow up in. Issues like safety, education, entertainment, economic development, and jobs are on the forefront. Fort Wayne has a hotly-contested mayoral race and could have as many as seven new city council members. Fort Wayne will have a new city clerk for the first time in over 30 years.
Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana urges voters of all ages to pay attention to what the candidates are saying, doing, and advocating.
As a nonpartisan organization that encourages young professionals to get involved, to make their mark, and to make their voices heard, YLNI finds it troubling that Indiana had the lowest voter turnout in the country last November. And, the 9.8 percent turnout in the May primary elections in Allen County was the lowest in history.
Whether that was due to misinformation, lack of information, or just plain apathy, they’re not going to stand by and just hope more people turn out to vote in November. YLNI is committed to doing something about it by hosting multiple events, in partnership with several other organizations, to help engage and educate voters.
- On Oct. 1, YLNI will host a “Meet the Candidates” night. Candidates have been invited to give a short speech to let attendees know who they are and what they stand for. The event is 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Embassy Theatre and is open to members of the participating organizations.
- On Oct. 8, YLNI will host “Rally the Vote” – a free, family-friendly block party open to the public from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the Landing, Columbia Street in downtown Fort Wayne. Voters can vote at the County building until 4:30 p.m. and then join us for music, food, beverages and outdoor games.
Just as important as increasing turnout, is having informed voters. Each election year YLNI produces a candidate information brochure. It contains general background information on the candidates, including their answers to questions regarding community issues. The brochure also includes a description of each office on the ballot and general voting information.
No matter what side of the aisle you tend to stand, or if you prefer to vote for a candidate instead of a party, please get educated on the candidates and issues, then exercise your right to vote.
Jake Pickett is vice president of communications for Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana. He wrote this for Fort Wayne Newspapers.