Monroe mayoral candidates discuss race-relations, challenges facing the city

By  | 

MONROE, La. (KNOE) Monroe's mayoral candidates met at the convention center Monday night for a public forum.

Monroe's mayoral candidates met at the convention center Monday night for a public forum.Source: (KNOE)

The event was hosted by the Monroe Chamber of Commerce and KEDM Public Radio.

Among other topics, the candidates were asked whether or not they thought the city of Monroe was divided.

Fredrick Louis (D) said issues with race-relations are as old as time. He said it's an issue he's seen on a daily basis, and one he thinks he knows how to fix.

"Our kids do not see us modeling race relations so they grow up with the same old sentiment. And as a people, we have to do better," said Louis.

Incumbent mayor Jamie Mayo (D) said his administration is diverse, but he doesn't always see that in the community. He said the city's hosted several events to have the conversation, but they haven't had high participation.

"We've had some difficulties getting our top leaders, some of whom I'm looking at in this room, and that's pathetic. We have to do better. We have to be better," said Mayo.

Ronnie Scott (L) said only the federally mandated minimum has been done to address the issue, and that needs to change. He said the doesn't think the city as a whole is divided, but the embers are still burning from the way people were treated, and he said there's a reason he feels confident saying so.

"I went down and found my family history book so I can go back just a few generations and tell you exactly what my relatives determined another person's life was worth," said Scott.

Marie Brown (D) said the city is divided, and the community needs to work together to fix it. She said the doesn't want to have to keep going across Louisville to see the beauty in the community.

"I bleed and I hurt just like you. So I want my community safe. What you want for you, I want for me," said Brown.

Friday Ellis (I) said there's still work to be done both nationally and locally. He said it's his witness to the community that he's never regarded where someone is from or how much money they had when they needed help.

"For me, this was never a matter of can we move together as one city. It's a matter of do we have the courage and the collective will to be able to come together and to be able to work together. And I look forward to leading that charge," said Ellis.

The candidates were also asked what they thought the biggest challenges facing Monroe are, and what they thought about a new city arena.

Corey Crowe with KEDM said the full forum will be posted on the station's website.