Some 9,400 people participated in early voting for the municipal primary election this Saturday, according to state election results.
Of the some 9,400 people voting, some 5,800 voters in Monroe participated in early voting, according to the Secretary of State’s office.
In Monroe, Mayor Jamie Mayo, a Democrat, is seeking re-election and faces four challengers. He has served as mayor since 2001.
Mayo’s campaign rolled out a handful of endorsement announcements on Tuesday, mostly from local legislators and local elected officials as well as a television commercial in which Gov. John Bel Edwards called for voters to rally behind the mayor’s re-election campaign.
Mayo told The Ouachita Citizen his experience as mayor was the main reason voters should continue to support him instead of someone who would need “on the job training.”
“My opponents are good people,” Mayo said. “But, when you put the resume of all 2020 candidates side by side, without any names attached to (the resumes), the facts will clearly show the combination of my education, business experience, fiscal management, personnel management, crisis management, and networking ability separate me from the crowd.”
Though Mayo at first declined to name specific mayoral candidates, he later took an apparent jab at one of his opponents: local businessman Friday Ellis, who owns and runs Governor’s Cigar & Pipe where patrons gather to smoke and talk.
“This job is not a casual conversation of a drink and smoke,” Mayo said. “This is not a ceremonial position.”
Ellis, an independent, was unavailable for comment.
Beyond Mayo and Ellis, mayoral candidates include community activist Marie Brown, a Democrat; Fredrick Louis, a Democrat; and Ronnie Scott, a Libertarian.
In an interview with this newspaper, Brown took aim at Mayo’s tenure. Specifically, city districts 3, 4 and 5 had declined during the 19 years while Mayo was in office, though she said all areas of Monroe needed attention so they could flourish.
“If not for volunteers, we would still have trees blocking people in after the tornado,” Brown said.
According to Brown, the city’s crime rate remained a problem even if some people refused to acknowledge it.
“The crime, especially among the youth, is the result of recreational activities,” Brown said. “There’s nothing to occupy their time. We used to have recreational activities for the youth. They were discontinued under the Mayo administration.”
If elected mayor, Brown said she would tackle improving water and sewer infrastructure as well as offer programs and tax incentive packages to help small businesses flourish and attract more residents.
“If we don’t start creating something positive, how can you act surprised when the negative creeps in?” Brown said. “If our people that live here don’t have decent jobs, this is what you get: a decrepit community.”
“Monroe citizens need to wake up,” she added.
Brown also said it was time for the city to elect its first female mayor.
Scott told The Ouachita Citizen his education and experience made him stand out among the other candidates.
“What I’ve been doing over the last few years is I’ve helped people buy their first homes they never thought they could or get their businesses off the ground,” Scott said. “I’m helping people create success stories for free. That’s what I’m offering to do for the city of Monroe.”
“You can measure a person’s success by the number of people they’ve helped become successful,” he added.
Scott declined to disclose some of those success stories because it would involve disclosing private details about certain people.
He invited people to examine his website, www.rs2020.com
“I’m one of the few candidates bringing answers to the table instead of questions,” Scott said.
Louis, a mayoral candidate and classroom teacher, was unavailable for comment.
According to early voting results, 9,429 people cast an early vote. Of those, 5,555 were white, 3,723 were black and 141 were other. According to party affiliation, 4,496 were Democrats, 4,129 were Republicans, and 804 were other.
If any of the July 11 elections head to a run-off, those run-off elections will be held during the Aug. 15 general election.
In the Monroe City Council’s District 2 race, City Council member Gretchen Ezernack, a Republican, will face Jackie Slack, a Democrat and former city employee.
In the City Council’s District 3 race, City Council member Juanita Woods will face local activist Alicia “Cocoa” Calvin. Woods and Calvin are Democrats.
The four candidates for the City Council’s District 4 race include Carday Marshall Sr., Jesse Smith, Jesse Walker, and Trandon Welch. They are each Democrats.
In the City Council’s District 5 race, the five candidates are Kema Dawson, Chresancio “Chee-Chee” Jackson, Kevin Johnson, Eugene Payne Jr., and Dewayne Wooten. They are each Democrats.
Meanwhile, the candidates for Richwood’s Board of Aldermen included Eric Amaker, Wysinger Cleveland, Janice Fleming, Leola Keys, Wilbert Reed Jr., Donald Richard, and Bengie Ward. They are all Democrats.
Ernest Profit, a Republican, and Simeon Profit, an independent, also are candidates.