The formation of a joint caucus of the mayors and commissioners of Northeast Indiana was announced in Ft. Wayne last week. The caucus provides a forum to work collaboratively on policy issues of common interest. This collaboration is essential to advance public policy critical to the goal of transforming the economy of the region through their leadership. Along with announcing the formation of the caucus, they also publicly signed the founding documents and endorsed “The Big Goal” – the region's effort to increase the number of residents in Northeast Indiana with high quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025.
The formation of this caucus is one of the direct results from a trip that 36 community leaders took to Denver, Colo., last year to learn from their regional economic development and collaborative leadership efforts. Three elected officials participated in the Regional Leadership Experience 2012 and led the initial effort to form the caucus: Mayor Terry McDonald of New Haven, Ind., Mayor Richard Hickman of Angola, Ind., and Allen County Commissioner Therese Brown.
"This is bold leadership by the mayors and commissioners of Northeast Indiana," said Mayor Hickman. "We have come to fully embrace the power of building trust and collaborative leadership with our fellow elected officials which is essential to solve today's community challenges and grow our regional economy."
The Northeast Indiana Regional Workforce Investment Board, the Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana, and the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership also assisted in convening the mayors and commissioners to establish this caucus.
The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership spearheads the regional visioning initiative Vision 2020, which established “The Big Goal” as one of the top seven priorities for the region at the end of last year. The partnership is currently convening leaders, establishing metrics and launching a communications campaign to increase awareness and engagement in achieving “The Big Goal.” The Strive Network out of Cincinnati, Ohio, which has led similar efforts in cities across the country, has also been engaged to accelerate efforts on this priority.
"The mission of our region is to develop, attract and retain talent. This is the most urgent challenge we are facing as community leaders to assure businesses can grow and create 21st Century jobs," emphasized Commissioner Brown. "We have committed to work together as elected officials throughout Northeast Indiana to advance and sustain our efforts to achieve ‘The Big Goal.’"