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Allen County Democrats elect Sharon Tucker to succeed late Mayor Tom Henry

By Tony Sandleben, IPB News | Published on in Government, Politics, Statewide News
Sharon Tucker moments after winning the caucus to succeed Tom Henry as Fort Wayne's mayor. (Tony Sandleban, WBOI photo)

Sixth District Fort Wayne City Councilwoman Sharon Tucker will be Fort Wayne’s next mayor.

The Allen County Democrats caucused her into the position on Saturday morning after two rounds of voting. She will succeed the late Mayor Tom Henry after his death from late-stage stomach cancer.

Tucker, along with At Large City Councilwoman Michelle Chambers, Wayne Township Trustee Austin Knox, Indiana House Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta and Fort Wayne Intergovernmental Affairs Director Stephanie Crandall earned enough votes to stay in the race after the first round of voting.

Fellow candidates Palermo Galindo and Jorge Fernandez were eliminated after receiving zero and one vote respectively.

Chambers and Knox withdrew from the race in the recess period between the first two rounds after respectively getting three and nine votes in the opening round.

That left Tucker, GiaQuinta and Crandall.

In the spirit of promoting unity among the party, Allen County Democratic Chairman Derek Camp did not release the results of the second round, only announcing Tucker as the winner.

Tucker will be the first African American and first woman ever elected as mayor of Fort Wayne. She said she’s most looking forward to addressing mental health in the city.

“I’m looking forward to making sure we create a mayoral council on mental health,” she said. “Having been the executive director of Vincent Village, I know how important mental health can be and the impacts it has on homelessness.”

Tucker’s husband, Timothy Barbour, is set to be Fort Wayne’s first first gentleman. He said while that will be an adjustment, he’s more overwhelmed with emotion for his wife.

“When I heard it, I just jumped for joy,” Barbour said. “I cried like a newborn baby. I got the tissues to prove it. It was just a lot of hard work that was put in, and this is the reward for it.”

Tucker said her first priority as mayor will be to address the city staff.

“The very first thing I’m going to do is go in and listen to our staff,” she said. “I want to talk to our staff because they’ve been for three weeks without a leader, and they’ve been a little worried. There’s been some anxiety about what’s going to happen and where things are going to go, and so, I want to go in and make sure that I am easing their concerns.”

Multiple members of the Henry family were at Saturday’s caucus. Both Tom Henry’s daughter and nephew hugged Tucker after her caucus victory.

His nephew, Adam Henry, who has spoken on behalf of the Henry family since the mayor’s death, said “we support Mayor Tucker.”

Sharon Tucker and Tom Henry's nephew, Adam Henry, embrace after Tucker wins the caucus to succeed the late mayor.
Sharon Tucker and Tom Henry’s nephew, Adam Henry, embrace after Tucker wins the caucus to succeed the late mayor.  (WBOI photo)

Allen County Democratic Chairman Derek Camp said Tucker will likely be sworn in as mayor of Fort Wayne sometime this week.

She will need to formally resign as the sixth district representative on the Fort Wayne City Council first, which means the party will have 30 days to caucus in her replacement.