Thank you for taking the time to consider the future we can build together in Fort Wayne! My name is Audrey Davis, and I am seeking to serve you and your family as City Councilwoman at Large in 2023.
Our City Council includes three at-large members who represent voters throughout the city and six members who represent voters in different geographic districts. Currently, the council has five Republicans and four Democrats. I believe we can change that balance of power.
Together, we can make 2024 the first year, in a long time, for Democrats to lead the second-largest city in Indiana —and that means Democrats like me who can deliver results for working-class families.
Bridge Builder who Gets Things Done: I grew up as the second oldest in a single-parent home. Early on, I saw how marginalized communities, whether poor white, black or brown, stay powerless until they pull together. We know that when people feel like they belong, the places we all call "home" — our schools, workplaces, neighborhoods and cities — are more resilient.
In 2016, I was the coordinator of social justice ministries for the Fort Wayne-South Bend Catholic diocese. I began working with pastors, community foundations, nonprofit leaders and, most importantly, families who had been targeted by the rhetoric of the Trump campaign. This collaboration became "Faith in Indiana," now a statewide community organizing initiative with chapters in Fort Wayne, Gary, South Bend and Indianapolis.
Together, right here in Fort Wayne, we can build more coalitions that can shift the scales of power. Together we can put more power into the hands of everyday people.
Veteran: I enlisted in the US Navy as an 18-year-old. I was in boot camp on 9/11. I served overseas twice. At one point, I was one of 100 women on a ship of 2,000 people. This military experience has empowered me to plow through adversity by staying true to my values.
With the help of the G.I. Bill, I became the first in my family to graduate from college and study cultures and languages abroad. These experiences remind me daily to think globally and act locally.
I believe I can help navigate positive change in Fort Wayne —change that can have ramifications statewide and even nationally.
“Woman of the People”: My 10-year record as a grassroots organizer will bring a new kind of leadership to the Council. I will bring a new viewpoint to the city's $190 million annual budget — the money that drives the culture of public safety and public health here.
I am dedicated to involving citizens to solve problems. I involve the people and organizations closest to an issue in the actual problem-solving process. That leads to the best solutions. This has been true of our recent victories. We worked as a community to bring COVID testing into the hard-hit southeast side. We created the public call to consciousness that led the police department to develop the H.A.R.T. Hope and Recovery Team program. We re-unified immigrant families facing deportation. We fought for humane and fair working conditions for Fort Wayne minorities.
Movements like this will elevate Fort Wayne into a community of innovative problem-solvers. We need that skill to help address questions like these:
How do we ensure economic development also increases housing, improves quality of life and doesn't displace residents and businesses?
In a state with the largest growth sectors in retail and service industries, how do we advocate for wage increases in jobs in the nursing, mental health and education professions that we need for a strong tomorrow?
We need a fresh leader who is audacious enough to show that what once worked is no longer enough. And one who can create coalitions to make positive changes.
Probably no issue better shows my ability to challenge the status quo than my co-leadership of the Help not Handcuffs coalition. At the beginning of 2022, it appeared that Fort Wayne’s level of crime was on the rise. It was a foregone conclusion that we must build a new jail and locate it in the southeast quadrant.
A year later, the strong, unified voice of Help not Handcuffs has changed that narrow thinking. The county council actually voted against a tax hike to pay for a new jail. Now there is hope for a study of our local criminal justice system that includes more mental health resources.
Mom and Person of Faith:
We're building a campaign that challenges the idea that only those with the luxury of extra time and money can run for public office in Fort Wayne. I know the anxiety that comes from balancing a household budget against rising costs of gas and food. I, too, am concerned about the future of public education for our young daughter. I know the stress of finding affordable healthcare.
My Catholic faith has instilled in me the values of care for the common good, for racial and economic justice and for the dignity of every human life. I see how a government controlled by one party for decades has blind spots for which the poor will pay.
As your Fort Wayne City Councilwoman at Large, I will work daily to build a safe, equitable, bold, inclusive and caring city for all of us, no exceptions.