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|Re-elect Mayo in mayor's race|
Voters in Monroe face a simple decision when they go to the polls Saturday to cast their ballots in the mayoral election.
They can vote for Mayor Jamie Mayo, who has worked tirelessly in commanding the city's painful rebirth in the wake of some devastating blows in the economic development arena, or they can opt to support one of Mayo's opponents and risk throwing away the progress the city has made in recent years.
Seeking his second full term in office, Mayo has campaigned on his record of soundly managing the city's budgetary concerns. For the first time in many years, the city has money in the bank, or an estimated $11 million surplus. That's a far cry from where Monroe stood not too long ago when the city's coffers were bare, or running a deficit.
Mayo also has campaigned on his record of attracting new businesses to the area, which have created new jobs for the citizens of Monroe and northeast Louisiana in general.
It was not long ago that we witnessed Guide Corp. and State Farm Insurance abandon Ouachita Parish, ripping some 2,000 good-paying jobs out of the local economy.
Instead of sitting idly by and bemoaning the loss of a $100-million-plus payroll, Mayo, with the help of state and other local officials, went to work to counteract the losses.
Mayo and company succeeded in convincing Accent Marketing to locate a call center in the old State Farm office building in Monroe, creating some 500 jobs and a $50-million payroll to boot.
Though Accent alone will not replace the blows the community has suffered in recent years, its presence here is a good start toward a brighter future in the region.
While we are aware of some economic development efforts by Mayo and his administration to lure other large employers to the region, we will err on the side of doing what is in the best of northeast Louisiana by not disclosing what those efforts may yield for the people and the jobs those efforts could create. Suffice it to say that Mayo is on the right track.
Yet, if Mayo is re-elected in Saturday's mayoral election or in a run-off in March, the mayor is staring at some hard work in the near future to ensure Monroe's viability for years to come.
Crime is a problem, which has many of the tax-paying residents of the northside of Monroe a bit nervous these days.
The city's infrastructure, such as better roads to ease traffic congestion, need improving.
And much work remains ahead to create economic opportunities for a populace that seems somewhat content with just getting by.
In light of Mayo's track record as mayor, we believe he is the man Monroe voters should elect to tackle those problems.
Casting a vote for one Mayo's less-then-qualified opponents would be a gamble this region cannot afford to take.