Fort Wayne City Councilwoman Liz Brown (R-At-Large), formally declared her candidacy for Mayor of the City of Fort Wayne. Â Photos and video are available here.
At this point, she’ll face at least one other candidate in the May Primary election – Allen County Councilwoman Paula Hughes. Â LocalÂ businessmanÂ Eric Doden announced back on November 4th that he had formed an exploratory committee, but has made no other formal announcement.
Here’s the text of Candidate Brown’s speech (video will be posted later this afternoon):
Good afternoon and thank you all for joining me this afternoon.
After just three years on city council, it is evident that changes in our city government need to be made. When I was elected three years ago to serve a 4 year term on council as an at large representative, I approached the job with the conviction that citizens elected me not as an intern, not on a probationary status, but as a full fledged red-blooded voting member of council elected to change the way the City of Fort Wayne did business.
To accomplish this, I immersed myself in the City budget and as many City processes and task forces as were available. My children may not always have been impressed with my knowledge gleaned from the city utilities’ clean rivers task force, the Allen County Solid Waste District Board or the garbage contract committee, to name a few, but they often pointed out that there seemed to be a common theme to city governance!
Through my experiences, however, I do not believe I can achieve the changes necessary for this City by simply serving on City Council. That is why I have reached my decision to declare that I have formally formed my campaign committee to seek the Republican nomination for the position of Mayor for the City of Fort Wayne.
I am entering this race because the best way to change government is to do it from the Mayor’s office, and not the city council table. Although I think we conservatives on council have a thin majority at best, we can only, inevitably, vote the Mayor’s proposals up or down. To really change the processes, to really cut spending, to really make this city business friendly, we need a leader who is willing to upset the apple cart a little bit. I may not be able to lift that cart by myself, but I know with the assistance of a motivated staff we can make these changes. During my tenure as a councilmember, my goal has been to determine, at every step, if we are good stewards for the taxpayers. But it is darn hard to make all the changes necessary from that seat.
The ideas and desire for government reform that led to Republican victories this past election are not ideas and solutions that are limited to the state
and federal governments. Those same ideas for improving government and addressing governments’ problems can be applied to City Hall as well.
We can commiserate at the council table that we don’t like how contract specs were written, how difficult it is to get a permit, or whether we should,
yet again, lower the consulting contract limit to have more oversight, but unless we elect a leader who agrees with our conservative values, those necessary changes are difficult, if not impossible to achieve.
My goals are to streamline our processes to serve the taxpayer better, without increasing their taxes, to work with our local businesses in their expansion and growth, and to reduce our huge unfunded liabilities.
We need to do more for our neighborhoods. After attending neighborhood meetings in all quadrants in this city, I know that our citizens want more services, such as road repair, sidewalks, snow plowing and clean alleys, not less. I also know that we can make great strides without raising taxes, if we are willing to challenge the old way of doing business here.
Secondly, our businesses that are already here are our biggest assets, and lately they have been neglected. Government should use its unique resources to assist where possible, and then stay out of the way. Our internal processes need updating to allow businesses to operate in our city
and the surrounding area as efficiently as possible. We need to eliminate the red tape. And we need to actively engage the business community so that our infrastructure is sound and serves them well.
Finally, for too long, our city’s increasing long-term debt from our unfunded employment obligations has not been addressed. Steps need to be taken to
take control of this debt to guarantee our employees’ futures so that we keep the promises we have made to them. But we also need to promise our taxpayers that, going forward, we will not make any more promises that we cannot afford.
I have tried to ask the hard questions, the right questions, the probing questions as a council member, to find out if we are serving our constituents well. Now I would like to be able to answer those questions, correctlyâ€¦.as the next Mayor of Fort Wayne.
Press release from Republican Liz Brown, candidate for Fort Wayne Mayor:
Liz Brown Forms Campaign Committee for 2011 Mayoral Campaign
Brown Seeks Republican Nomination to Become Next Mayor of Fort Wayne
City Councilwoman Liz Brown formally filed her Candidate’s Statement of Organization and Designation of Principal Committee with the Allen County Election Board today for the purpose of establishing a campaign committee for her bid to become the Republican nominee for the 2011 City of Fort Wayne Mayoral Campaign. Brown intends to file her formal Declaration of Candidacy to seek the Republican nomination in mid-January when the filing window opens.
“Formation of my campaign committee will allow me to begin taking the necessary steps now to plan and prepare for a vigorous, grass-roots based campaign. There is no need to start with an Exploratory Committee; I am committed to Fort Wayne and I am committed to this campaign,” said Brown. “My campaign will be an issue oriented, grass-roots effort and I’m ready to begin formally organizing my volunteers.”
“After three years on Fort Wayne City Council it is evident that changes to our City’s operations need to be made. Established Fort Wayne businesses are the City’s biggest economic asset and we need to ensure we have the economic development tools and resources to foster their growth and expansion. The City’s internal processes need to be revised and updated to allow existing businesses to operate in our city and in the surrounding areas as efficiently as possible. This requires changes to enable City staff to open up the processes of City business in terms of access and transparency of information as well as to change City operations to eliminate unnecessary red tape. Finally, for too long the increasing debt and unfunded long-term liabilities have not been addressed by City leaders. My campaign will focus on plans and, strategies to manage and reduce these debts and liabilities for the future of our employees and our taxpayers.”
Liz Brown and her husband, Stephen, moved to Fort Wayne 20 years ago when he joined Fort Wayne Cardiology. They have 7 children, ages 27 to 17. Liz graduated from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Iowa Law School. She passed the bar exam in Iowa, Ohio and Indiana and is currently licensed to practice in Indiana. Liz has served on numerous philanthropic and not-for-profit organizations including the Boys and Girls Club, the St. Jude School, Diocesan and National Catholic Education School Board, and the Monogram Board of Directors for the University of Notre Dame.
Since her election to the Fort Wayne City Council, Liz Brown has served as Chair of the Finance Committee placing her in charge of the City’s 2009 budget and Chair of the Public Works Committee. In addition, Liz was a member of the Allen County Solid Waste District and was instrumental in saving the City over $250,000 during the 2009 ice storm. Liz also served as a member of Housing and Neighborhood Services (HANDS). Currently, Liz serves on the Fort Wayne Plan Commission and the Urban Enterprise Association. As a freshman legislator, Liz coauthored the new tax abatement ordinance, authored a bill that required public reporting and disclosure of consulting contracts by the City and this year reduced the $100,000 reporting threshold for contracts requiring City Council approval to $75,000. She also worked on the new commercial code legislation implemented this summer. Additionally, Liz initiated a public safety task force that considered many of the issues facing 911 and city-county public safety collocation and steered the health benefits task force to examine ways to better serve the health of city employees while cutting costs.