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|Candidate Thomas shifts focus|
(Editor's Note: This article is the first installment of a five-part series profiling the candidates for Monroe Mayor.)
Four years ago, when voters heard the name Clint Thomas they thought of bicycle paths and sidewalks.
This time around, Thomas is trying to put a different face on his campaign to unseat incumbent Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo.
"I wasn't going to run on that topic because I didn't figure anyone liked it," said Thomas. "This time, I want to focus on running the town for the people of this city instead of the mayor's pocket book."
The 2008 mayoral election will mark Thomas's fourth attempt to gain the support of Monroe voters. He first ran for mayor against Abe Pierce in 1996.
For more than 15 years, Thomas has operated Clint's Comics, a comic book and collectibles store near the campus of the University of Louisiana-Monroe.
Thomas began trading comics long before that, as a side-job while in college at ULM. When the business grew beyond flea market booths, Thomas said he found the location near the college and opened up a shop.
"I've pretty much been working for myself forever," said Thomas.
At age 42, the Monroe native said he believes he understands the city's needs.
Among those needs, Thomas said, are honest government and a mayor who cares about the citizens of Monroe.
"The main thing I want to do is run our town right," Thomas said. "I don't take donations to my campaign and I do that because I want to prove to the people of this city that it is the people I care about and not money."
Thomas terms himself the "anti-politician", noting he is interested only in doing the work of the mayor.
"I don't care about all the parties," Thomas said. "I just want to do the job."
Thomas said Monroe deserves a positive roll model in its leader.
"When people think about politicians here in our state, it's always that we have corrupt politicians," Thomas said. "I want to change that."
Voters who have followed Thomas's previous campaigns will notice one change, though. Instead of his trademark tee-shirt and jeans campaign, Thomas will be campaigning this year in a different wardrobe.
"I am wearing the suit and tie this time but in the past, I didn't even do that," Thomas said. "I decided I was going to dress up for the people of Monroe this time and see how they liked it."
The primary elections for Monroe Mayor will be held Feb. 9 in conjunction with the state-wide presidential primaries.