Monroe resident and business owner Friday Ellis says he plans to become a candidate for the mayor of the city of Monroe.

Ellis worked for five years in the city’s Engineering Department as a project manager and is a veteran who served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo, a Democrat, diminished Ellis' announcement on Wednesday, describing Ellis as yet another former city employee to seek the mayor's office.

"Today’s announcement comes as no surprise," Mayo said. "He will be the fourth former city employee to seek the office of Mayor during my administration. Any person has the right to seek public office and I respect their decision to do so.  My formal re-election announcement is upcoming.  My strong educational and business background has enabled my administration to lead our city through natural disasters and some tough financial & economic times.  We are in the best financial shape in our city’s history."

Ellis says he has been a vocal proponent of expanding opportunities for small business growth and an advocate for developing specific plans to put the city on an aggressive improvement track.

“Our city is at an important crossroads,” Ellis continued. “Do we continue down the path that led us here, or do we work for new leadership? I believe that our community needs a revival — an economic revival, a quality of life revival, and a spiritual revival — for us to achieve our full potential. We need a mayor that will work to unify our city, bring people together, and reach across racial, political and parish lines to bring our region, city and community together.

“Two of our most critical issues, crime and flooding, are growing concerns. We must refocus our efforts to actively secure the funding and support we need to attract industry, train the best workforce, retain our local businesses, and begin improving our roads, lighting, technology and other infrastructure.”

Monroe City Councilman Michael Echols, who was recently elected to the state House of Representatives, endorsed Ellis’ candidacy.

“Friday Ellis has ​demonstrated the ability and willingness to work constructively with others, regardless of where they live in Monroe, through accountability and transparency to bring a solutions-based approach to solving problems,” Ellis said. “He enlisted in the Marine Corps immediately following the destruction of the Twin Towers on 9/11, so that he could go where he was needed most. Monroe needs him and his courageous leadership now.”

Ellis operates a Monroe-based business, Governor’s, in Monroe’s Garden District, that also produces their own line of cigars in Nicaragua that are sold globally. Ellis says the relationships built as a small business owner, experience as a project manager for the City, and service in the Marines Corps, has given him critical insight into the prioritization and process gaps that are holding Monroe back from achieving its full potential.

Earlier this year, Ellis was named the Louisiana Business and Industry (LABI) 2019 Free Enterprise Champion for the state. He is also a member of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce, Louisiana Catalyst Incubator (Board Member) and a 2019 Graduate of the Leadership Louisiana program coordinated by the Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL).

Ellis has been married for 18 years to Ashley Ellis, and they have three children, Friday III, Asher, and Aurie.

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