Fort Wayne City Councilman Tom Didier, R-3rd District, announced May 7 that he wants to do what no Republican has done in two decades — be mayor.
The last Republican mayor was Paul Helmke, who served three terms ending in 1999. He was followed by Democrat Graham Richard, who served two terms, and current Democratic Mayor Tom Henry, who is in his fourth term.
Didier aims to change that, and he’s getting an early start — two years before the next mayoral primary.
He said he’s contemplated running for mayor before, but the timing wasn’t right. “There’s a time for everything,” he said. “For myself, it’s my time.”
Didier has been elected as City Councilman for the 3rd District five times starting in 2003 when he beat then-councilman Henry in the 3rd District race.
He’s been elected president of City Council four times and has served on numerous boards and commissions.
He has worked as a sales representative for U.S. Foods for 31 years.
Didier and his wife Mary have three grown children and one grandchild.
The focus of his campaign will be “Fort Wayne First.”
“I’m about the whole community,” he said. “What I’m going to give you is a better tomorrow.”
He plans to run an upbeat campaign. “You can’t sell negative, you have to be positive,” he told the crowd at the Fort Wayne Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 124 Union Hall on Broadway, where he opened his campaign.
The union hall is just a stone’s throw from the massive Electric Works multi-use redevelopment project. Didier is a strong advocate for the project, and last fall, when the city abruptly canceled the economic development agreement with the developers, Didier and Councilman Glynn Hines, D-at-large, introduced a resolution demanding answers from the city administration. The project is now moving forward after changes were made.
Didier also is a passionate advocate for the northwest neighborhoods he represents in the 3rd District, and says he will extend that passion to the entire city as mayor by putting all of Fort Wayne first — the basis of his campaign slogan.
An active member of the Catholic Church, Didier often invokes his faith publicly.
He has 11 siblings, and they were raised in a home on the north side of the city. His father, Marshall Didier, and two uncles operated Didier Meats. Tom Didier said of his father, “He always taught us about hard work.”
Didier’s campaign logo is actually a knock-off of the family’s old Didier Meats logo — a nod to his deep family ties.