In an unusual move for a political debate, Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry and Republican challenger Tim Smith were asked by Wednesday's moderator to compliment each other.
Henry and Smith squared off against each other during a mayoral debate hosted by Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana.
"I've said twice that I respect the mayor for his longevity, and that is sincere," Smith said. "Anybody who's served a long time in public service when they probably could have been making more money doing something else absolutely has my respect. I think the mayor has been an excellent steward of Fort Wayne resources. He's a joyful leader who clearly likes his job. He's a great PR guy. I think he has the best interests of Fort Wayne in mind."
Henry made note of Smith's passion for giving back to the community, noting that he first met his challenger two years ago as Smith began to explore an interest in public service.
"That passion in the last two years – and we've met from time to time – hasn't left," Henry said. "And that's what it takes if you're going to be involved in public service, because you're right, it's not for the money. It's to serve your fellow man."
Voters will decide between Smith and Henry on Nov. 5.