When we started planning for the 2012 Indiana Democratic Party State Convention, we knew we wanted to try something new.
Historically, we'd always held the event in Indianapolis. It was time for a change.
So we made the decision to ask other cities to bid for the convention, and Fort Wayne responded in an impressive way with a local host committee led by Mayor Tom Henry that was ready and eager to plan an outstanding event.
This past weekend, roughly 2,000 Democratic delegates, candidates and elected officials traveled to the Summit City to experience the first modern state convention held outside of Indianapolis. By any measure, it was a huge success.
From our night at the ballpark to our official business at the convention center to hospitality events at the downtown hotels, Fort Wayne delivered an experience that our attendees won't soon forget.
Some of the headlines leading up to the convention focused on our decision to bring the event to a more GOP-leaning part of Indiana. We believe that moderate Republicans will gravitate toward our priorities and candidates this year. But one of the biggest reasons we chose Fort Wayne was to celebrate a city that has flourished under Democratic leadership.
For more than a decade, under both Mayor Henry and Mayor Graham Richard before him, the city has benefited from executives who emphasized bipartisanship, job creation and infrastructure improvements while keeping spending low even in difficult economic times.
Nowhere is the progress more apparent than in the downtown area that's built up — and continues to grow — around the new baseball stadium.
We didn't just come to Fort Wayne to host a convention; we came to experience a city that's alive with development and opportunity. And we came to celebrate our commitment to all corners of Indiana, not just the state capital.
Of course, while we were there we nominated phenomenal candidates for our statewide ticket and adopted a platform that's more inclusive than ever before.
We also officially kicked off the November campaign with a clear message: We're the party putting Hoosiers first with an agenda that promotes good jobs, quality schools and compromise when it's in the best interest of our state. I personally left Fort Wayne invigorated about the next five months and the future of our state.
This election is about Indiana, its potential and how we work together to get our state back on track. Getting outside of Indianapolis, where so much of the acrimony in today's politics occurs, was exactly what we needed to focus on our priorities as Democrats.
Thank you, Mayor Henry, and thank you to the City of Fort Wayne, our host committee and everyone who helped make this year's convention possible.