Monroe’s leading candidates: where they stand

The Office of the Mayor
Friday Ellis

Ellis’ campaign centers around the slogan “Promises Made, Promises Kept.” According to his campaign, Ellis kept four specific promises: investing in public safety, reviving Monroe’s economy, mitigating flood concerns and improving citizens’ quality of life. He seeks to build on the initiatives and plans created during his tenure as mayor.

One of Ellis’ most notable goals is bringing I-20 passenger rail to Monroe. He wants to work with Amtrak, believing creating a passenger rail will boost Monroe’s economy. Amtrak agreed, and the incumbent will continue his partnership with Amtrak if re-elected mayor. The two share a goal of creating a passenger rail terminal in Monroe. Ellis estimates that an Amtrak rail would increase job opportunities and tourism within the Monroe area. 

 He hopes to eliminate flooding by installing a subsurface drainage system that costs $6 million. First, the pipes will be cleaned and inspected. Then, Ellis and the City Council will work on creating possible improvements and renovations to the drainage system. The new drainage system will take over six years to install and work, according to KNOE News. 

  Lastly, Ellis proposes a multi-step plan for beautifying and revitalizing Monroe. Some of his ideas include updating local parks, accessing recreation facilities and preserving historic buildings in Downtown Monroe. 

The Office of the Mayor
Betty Ward-Cooper
Betty Ward-Cooper

Ward-Cooper’s campaign slogan is “Right Choice, Right Time.” After spending four decades working in education, Ward-Cooper believes she has the experience and qualifications needed to be a mayor. Her platform focuses on fostering economic development, sponsoring youth programs and growing public works.  

Ward-Cooper considers economic development to be the cornerstone of her campaign. A crucial part of her platform is the inclusion of Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE). Disadvantaged businesses receive assistance from the Department of Transportation when contracting or subcontracting with state agencies. She wants to create initiatives that cater to disadvantaged businesses. By growing struggling businesses, Ward-Cooper believes Monroe’s economy can thrive. 

She wants to support youth development programs. Ward-Cooper will give at least $1 million in funding to programs focusing on career development, recreational services and education opportunities. The former teacher believes Monroe’s future lies in the hands of the youth. She also supports these programs to fight future crime and incarceration rates. 

Finally, Ward-Cooper focuses on expanding public works. She seeks to ensure that services, such as sewer repair assistance and sanitation, reach marginalized communities. By improving public works, Ward-Cooper believes she will raise the standard of living. 

Betty Ward-Cooper
Jamie Mayo
Jamie Mayo

Mayo’s “I Want Jamie Back” campaign slogan focuses on his administration’s accomplishments and achievements as mayor from 2001-2020. His platform lists his solutions for combating crime, poverty and unemployment. 

 As part of his campaign, Mayo released a detailed public safety plan. He proposes the implementation of a community policing program. This new program features initiatives such as “Adopt a Block.” Neighbors, churches and city agencies will work together to identify social factors and issues contributing to high crime rates. These organizations will then help police properly address neighborhood problems. 

Mayo argues that “Monroe is in need of a new direction.” He believes the return of businesses like Lumen and United Airlines will revive Monroe’s economy. One of his goals is to collaborate with United Airlines to establish a flight from Monroe to Houston. According to Mayo, the partnership between the City of Monroe and these businesses will lead to a jump in employment rates. 

Mayo also focuses on uplifting minority-owned businesses through a partnership with the Monroe Regional Black Chamber of Commerce. Through this partnership, Mayo would institute programs, such as mentorships, that elevate disadvantaged businesses. These programs would focus on eliminating racial disparity in companies and offer employment opportunities to entrepreneurs. 

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