Although from opposing sides, both candidates running for Allen County commissioner list lowering the cost of government and bringing more jobs to the area as top priorities.
Nelson Peters is seeking a third term as commissioner in District 1 and is being challenged by Democrat Gordon Anthony on Nov. 6.
The district encompasses the east side of the county. While county commissioners must live in their districts, they are elected at large by all Allen County voters.
The position pays $65,294 annually plus retirement and health insurance benefits.
Peters hopes to be elected to a third term so he can continue the county’s successful economic development strategies, he said.
Economic development, economic development, he said. That’s still my focus.
Peters said his vision for the county and track record shows he has been able to achieve it.
He cited nearly $500 million worth of economic development projects accomplished in 2011. This was done in spite of annual budget cuts for the past six years, he said.
Peters has been a proponent of integrating city and county services, which was one of the reasons he won the Outstanding First Term Commissioner award from the Indiana Association of County Commissioners, he said.
The consolidated city-county 911 center was a 10-year fight prior to the time I came on board, he said.
Other accomplishments, he said, include merging city and county homeland security functions, passing an ethics policy for employees and elected officials, reducing the number of county-owned vehicles and drafting a comprehensive land-use and development plan.
Peters said he was also instrumental in establishing a health clinic and early-retirement-benefit program for county employees.
In addition to working as a human resources director for 15 years – 11 of those for the city of Fort Wayne and Allen County – Peters served on the Allen County Council as vice president from 1991 to 2000. He lost to Matt Kelty in the 2007 GOP Fort Wayne mayoral primary.
A veteran of the U.S. Navy, Anthony has never held a public elected office but has run for state Senate, township trustee and Fort Wayne City Council.
Anthony wants more partnership between the city and county and said the key is progressive legislation at the county level.
We need a more common-sense approach, he said.
If elected, he would work more openly with the city administration, especially in combining services.
Anthony’s background and experience would enable him to draft good public safety policies, he said.
A Fort Wayne firefighter for 28 years, Anthony retired in 1998 with the rank of captain. He also worked for the county at the Deer Run Juvenile Facility and was emergency services director for the Red Cross Northeast Indiana Chapter.
He was a founding member of the Northeast Indiana Emergency Medical Response Team, the northeast Indiana Critical Debriefing Team and the Allen County Community Emergency Response Team, where he now is an instructor.
He has been chairman of the 4th District American Legion Legislative, National Security and Foreign Affairs committees for more than 25 years.
As a two-term past president of Fort Wayne Professional Fire Fighters Union Local 124 and a former delegate to the Indiana Central Labor Council, Anthony feels strongly about labor relations and employment issues.
I’ve spent almost 40 years fighting for the rights of public employees, he said.