The Journal Gazette
Sunday, October 13, 2019 1:00 am

Police PAC backs Smith, others in city races

NIKI KELLY and BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

The Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council Political Action Committee released its endorsements for the Fort Wayne municipal election Nov. 5.

The Fraternal Order of Police is the union that represents sergeants and lieutenants in the Fort Wayne Police Department. Its PAC endorsed:

• Tim Smith for mayor

• Lana Keesling for city clerk

• Michael Barranda for City Council at large

• Tom Freistroffer for City Council at large

• Michelle Chambers for City Council at large

• Paul Ensley for City Council District 1

• Russ Jehl for City Council District 2 (unopposed)

• Tom Didier for City Council District 3

• Jason Arp for City Council District 4

• Geoff Paddock for City Council District 5

The PAC did not make an endorsement for City Council District 6, where Allen County Councilwoman Sharon Tucker is running unopposed.

All of the endorsed candidates are Republicans except for Democrats Chambers and Paddock. Keesling, Barranda, Freistroffer, Ensley, Jehl, Diddier, Arp and Paddock are incumbents.

The Fort Wayne Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, a union that represents police officers below the rank of sergeant, typically does not make election endorsements and is not doing so this year.

“Our union does not get political,” Steven Espinoza, president of the association, said in a statement Thursday. “Our focus is on serving and protecting our membership and the citizens of Fort Wayne.”

The association said it encourages its membership to educate themselves on the issues and to vote their conscience.

The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association “wishes each candidate luck” on Nov. 5 and said the organization looks forward to working with those candidates who are elected, according to Espinoza.

Banks on Bruce

U.S. Rep. Jim Banks is a conservative Republican. But he acknowledged Thursday at his town hall meeting that he likes songs and beverages produced by liberals.

“I like Bruce Springsteen. I don't share his politics, right? I mean, I'm OK with that,” Banks, R-3rd, said at the Winona Lake Town Hall.

“And I still buy the music, and I still drink coffee from places that people say I shouldn't drink coffee from because they have a political view or whatnot” different from his own, he told three-dozen people in the audience.

Banks brought up his conflicting tastes while criticizing the NBA for its initial reluctance to support Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey when he tweeted support for Hong Kong citizens protesting their Chinese rulers.

Banks called China “the greatest existential threat to the United States of America that we face today.” He also said the NBA's behavior demonstrated “the influence and power that the Chinese have over the United States and our economy.”

He accused the NBA of hypocrisy for embracing China as a TV and merchandise market while at the same time moving its 2017 All-Star game out of Charlotte because of North Carolina's “bathroom bill” requiring people to use public restrooms according to their gender at birth; allowing players to wear T-shirts protesting police brutality; and a coach's refusal to visit President Donald Trump's White House after his team won the NBA title.

Locals attend states' summit

Four northeast Indiana residents recently went to Virginia to participate in the first national Convention of States Leadership Summit in Colonial Williamsburg.

Eight Hoosiers attended, including Markle Republican Sen. Travis Holdman, Gary Harbaugh of Fort Wayne, Mya Phillips of Auburn and Paul Phillips of Auburn.

Article V of the U.S. Constitution gives states the power to call a Convention of States to propose amendments. It takes 34 states to call the convention and 38 to ratify any amendments that are proposed. The convention will only allow the states to discuss amendments that “limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, impose fiscal restraints, and place term limits on federal officials.”

Paul Phillips is co-director of Convention of States Indiana, and received a Challenge Coin. Only 300 Challenge Coins were minted before the dies were destroyed, so it is a genuine limited edition.

Phillips said it “was a real honor to be presented with the award by COS president Mark Meckler with Mark Levin sitting in the front row.” The Challenge Coin represents true leadership that is developed and forged in the fire of challenge.

To learn more, go to

Dave Gong of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at or Niki Kelly at An expanded Political Notebook can be found as a daily blog at

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