Five people submitted paperwork during qualifying this week to become candidates in Monroe's mayoral race.
Those qualifying included community activists Marie Brown, a Democrat; local businessman Friday Ellis, an independent; Fredrick Louis, a Democrat; Mayor Jamie Mayo, a Democrat; and Ronnie Scott, a Libertarian.
Local businessman Douglas Harvey, a Republican, was the only person to qualify as a candidate for the District 1 office on the Monroe City Council as of 6 p.m. Friday night.
Monroe City Council member Gretchen Ezernack, a Republican, qualified for District 2 on the City Council. She drew one challenger: Jackie Slack, a Democrat.
In District 3, City Council member Juanita Woods drew one opponent: Alicia "Cocoa" Calvin. Woods and Calvin are each Democrats.
Four people qualified to become candidates in the City Council's District 4 race. The candidates included Carday Marshall Sr., Jesse Smith, Jesse Walker, and Trandon Welch. They are each Democrats.
In the City Council's District 5 race, five people qualified as candidates. They are Kema Dawson, Chresancio "Chee-Chee" Jackson, Kevin Johnson, Eugene Payne Jr., and Dewayne Wooten. They are each Democrats.
Meanwhile, in Richwood's mayoral race, Gerald Brown and Edward Harris qualified as candidates. They are each Democrats.
The people qualifying to become candidates for the town of 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 qualified.
ORIGINAL: Qualifying for the April 4 municipal primary election began Wednesday and will conclude Friday, Jan. 10.
Beyond the presidential primary, the April 4 ballot will feature races for mayor of Monroe, mayor of Richwood, the five districts on the Monroe City Council, and the five at-large seats on the Richwood Board of Aldermen.
Early voting will be conducted March 21 through March 28. The deadline to register in person to vote is March 4 while the deadline to register online is March 14.
Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo is expected to seek re-election. He was first elected in 2001 and has served five terms in office, including the unexpired term of the late Mayor Melvin Rambin.
Mayo told The Ouachita Citizen on Tuesday that he would not offer comment until he qualified Wednesday morning.
Other people expected to qualify for mayor include community activist Marie Brown and local businessman Friday Ellis.
“It’s time for a change, but I’m not complaining about the mayor being in there for 18 years,” Brown said. “I just think we need a new vision and a new focus. We can focus on things he hasn’t focused on yet. It’s time to make it happen.”
Ellis described the upcoming mayoral election as one of the most important elections in Monroe’s recent history.
“It is all about leadership and vision,” Ellis said. “We need a change in both to start recognizing our common problems and address them with a common purpose and move forward to achieve its full potential. The outcome will affect our regional economy, our public safety, our ability to create jobs and our ability to collaborate effectively with others along the I-20 corridor. I am excited to help bring about those changes.”
Doug Harvey is expected to qualify for the District 1 seat on the City Council. He is vying to succeed outgoing City Councilman Michael Echols. Echols took a pass on seeking re-election to the City Council to run for the state House of Representatives in District 14. Echols was elected to the House without opposition and will take office Monday.
“Qualifying is tomorrow, and we are excited to see a group of leaders stepping up to serve our city and move our communities forward,” Harvey said. “Our region realizes Monroe is at a crossroads and is paying close attention to this election. I am grateful for the support I have received to date and look forward to continuing to serve my community as their city councilman.”
City Council member Gretchen Ezernack, who represents District 2, said she plans to seek re-election.
“I will be there tomorrow,” Ezernack told The Ouachita Citizen on Tuesday.
City Council member Juanita Woods, who represents District 3, also is expected to seek re-election.
City Council members Kenny Wilson (District 4) and Eddie Clark (District 5) have said they would decline to serve another term representing their respective districts.
Two possible candidates have emerged for the City Council’s District 5 seat.
Kema Dawson, executive director of the Ouachita Multi-Purpose Community Action Program, announced last month her plans to become a candidate for the Monroe City Council’s District 5 office.
Chresancio “Chee-Chee” Jackson announced last week his plans to become a candidate for the District 5 office of the Monroe City Council.