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Meet the new boss
Fort Wayne Reader
Mike Bynum is the new chair of the Allen County Democratic Party. He replaces Kevin Knuth, who resigned the post shortly after the November election. While Bynum was the only candidate to submit his name for consideration by party members - and even that was at the urging of others - party insiders believe he’s a good fit for the job.
Where Knuth was a bulldog (even as he headed out the door, Knuth was tossing bombs at local Republicans for alleged closed-door meetings), Bynum is expected to be a consensus builder. Bynum has a long record of civic involvement including serving on the city's Plan Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals; he is president of the Branning Hills Neighborhood Association; and he is a former chair of the Citizens Appeals Board for Neighborhood Code. Bynum’s volunteer work also includes serving on the Southeast Area Partnership and the Community Service Council. In 2006, Bynum ran unsuccessfully against State Senator Tom Wyss (R-District 15).
Bynum takes over a local Democratic Party that’s in the best shape in years. Under Knuth’s leadership, the party won a number of major political victories including the Fort Wayne Mayor’s Office, the Wayne Township Trustee’s Office and a seat on the Allen County Council among other offices. Bynum also inherits a party organization that is debt-free.
“It’s a great time to continue building upon what has already been established,” Bynum says. “We have a great opportunity to focus on the future and continue moving forward.”
Bynum is the first African-American to lead a major political party in Allen County.
With the public more concerned than ever about its right-to-know, Mayor Tom Henry is boosting his public information staff. Rachel Blakeman, director of marketing for Lancia Homes and author of the Be Part of the Solution blog, and J. Oscar “Ozzie” Mitson, manager for Nelson Peters’ mayoral primary campaign, have been hired as public information officers.
Correction: FWR’s “Best & Worst of 2007” (last issue) stated that “Allen County council is all Republican.” PA didn’t make the error but we will set the record straight. County council member Maye Johnson is a proud Democrat.