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|City council candidates tout campaigns|
Candidates in three Monroe City Council districts are making the rounds in the final days before voters go to the polls to cast ballots in national and local elections on Saturday.
Eleven candidates are vying for four seats on the city council in districts ranging in north Monroe and south Monroe.
In District 3, former police juror Daryll Berry will face Arthur Gilmore, the incumbent who also serves as an assistant district attorney.
Gilmore pointed to the work he's done for his district as the reason voters should re-elect him to the council for another term.
Gilmore highlighted the I-20 development corridor and air industrial park as achievements in his district.
"I've got a proven track record of success and I'm knowledgeable of the items that come before the council as well as the various issues that come before us," Gilmore said.
Berry, who ran unsuccessfully for the District F seat on the Ouachita Parish Police Jury in the fall 2007 elections, could not be reached for comment.
In District 5, five candidates have qualified for the seat currently held by Robert Johnson.
Gregory Burton said he wanted to run because he saw "a lot of room" to make improvements in District 5.
"There are a lot of houses we need to do something about because, not only are they an eyesore, but they've become a dangerous haven for people," said Burton, a teacher at the Ouachita Parish Alternative School.
If elected, Burton said he would try to change the way law enforcement works with residents of his district to help curb crime. Particularly, he would like to see the Monroe Police Department increase patrols in District 5 neighborhoods.
"There is a difference between me standing outside 30 minutes and a policeman walking a beat carrying a service revolver," Burton said.
District 5 hopeful Verbon Muhhamad said his first order of business would be to establish a community panel to coordinate plans throughout the district.
Muhhamad said he decided to run because District 5 needs a fresh voice.
"I represent change; I represent a home-grown person from Monroe, born and raised in the district. I think that, for me being already in the community, people have seen me standing on certain issues in the community," Muhhamad said.
William DeGrate, another candidate for District 5, could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, Johnson, an attorney, and District 5 candidate Cliff Thomas, could not be reached for comment either.
In District 4, city councilman Robert "Red" Stevens will face challenger Kenneth Wilson.
Stevens currently serves as chairman of the Monroe City Council. The 2008 race for District 4 is Wilson's second attempt to unseat Stevens.
Neither candidate could be reached for comment.
District 1 candidate Spec Lewis and incumbent Jay Marx were profiled last week in last week's edition of The Ouachita Citizen.