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|Mayo points to opponent's contributors|
Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo outpaced his competitors' fundraising efforts by an almost 5-to-1 margin, according to campaign finance reports filed with the state Ethics Board.
For the period ending Dec. 31, 2007, Mayo raised some $69,050, almost five times more than his closest competitor, local businessman Tony Little.
During the same reporting period, the Little raised $14,000.
Mayo's contributors included a number of local and national engineering firms and building contractors, in addition to contributions received from local residents and business interests.
Mayo downplayed criticisms from opponents who have said the contributions are efforts to buy favoritism to do business with the city.
"The city does business with local engineering firms, like Denmon, Maroney, Lazenby, S. E. Huey," Mayo said. "But we're under a consent decree from the federal government to make improvements that require particular expertise that might not be available locally. So we do business with firms from around the country."
Lazenby and Associates, John Maroney, and Denmon Engineering are engineering firms that have done work for the city of Monroe. Those firms also contributed to Mayo's re-election campaign.
Combined contributions from those firms or individuals associated with those firms totaled $2,000.
Also listed in Mayo's campaign finance report were contributions from construction and engineering firms in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and other south Louisiana cities. Those firms included Utilitworks of Baton Rouge, Basin Enterprises of Plaquemine and Environmental Technical Services of Baton Rouge.
Utiliworks contributed $1,500 to Mayo. Basin Enterprises and Environmental Technical Services each gave $2,500, the maximum contribution allowed under state law.
"Some of those firms have seen the way this city does business and they like what they see," Mayo said. "So they've decided to become in some way a vested part of the community."
"Have they contributed to my campaign? Yes," Mayo said. "But they're also making contributions every day to this community, to the people. And it's not always in a manner that you can necessarily see."
"My opponents don't like the message it sends because those contributions to this community are an indicator that we're doing something right," Mayo added.
Mayo said voters should follow the money contributed to his opponents before drawing any conclusions.
"Everybody knows one of my opponents was placed in the race by individuals who are intent on fighting the system by trying to buy the system," Mayo said.
Mayo cited as an example Vantage Health Plan, which has contributed at least $6,000 to the campaign of Tony Little.
Mayo said Vantage Health Care of Monroe and individuals associated with the company were upset that the health insurance provider lost the city's contract in a competitive bid process after providing the city's insurance for more than seven years.
"The insurance committee made a recommendation to me all six years and I never altered the process," Mayo said. "They're rebelling against a process that's working--as evidenced by the fact that they had the contract for seven years before they lost it."
Meanwhile, Mayo said he believed he has acted in the best interests of the citizens of Monroe during his tenure as mayor.
"I've angered those few special interests that demanded that I do specific favors for them, favors that weren't necessarily in the best interest of the city," Mayo said. "And I'm faced with that in this election."