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Mayor race draws three
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MONROE - The race is on to become mayor of Monroe as three interested parties have pulled nomination papers.

Louis Armstrong, Marc Kennedy and incumbent Bill Ross have all gathered the documents. They now need to get 50 signatures from residents of Monroe in order to be placed on a ballot.

Kennedy is a newcomer to Monroe government. For the past six years, he has lived in Wisconsin and worked as a trades manager for Smithfield Foods; he moved to Monroe two years ago. His job includes oversight of each brand owned by the company.

Kennedy decided to run because he sees more potential in the city of Monroe than what is currently being realized.

"The town does a great job of taking care of folks who are already here," Kennedy said. "The city needs to do a better job to keep folks here. We're the only ones shrinking."

Kennedy, who has four children, said the school system is more than adequate, but "there doesn't seem to be too much for young people."

He entered the race for the chance to create change in the area. He said the mayor should be a great facilitator of conversation among businesses and individuals, and recruiting more to choose Monroe as a permanent residence. He said the non-partisan position would allow him the chance to become such a facilitator.

Ross is seeking his 10th term as mayor.

"I am running for mayor because I love the city," Ross said. "I feel like I'm doing a good job and that the city government has been doing a good job."

Ross began his tenure as mayor in 1994. He served in the position until 2006, but could not stay away and entered the office once more in 2010.

Ross said he has heard positive feedback from residents of the city and that people seem excited for the future with the city on its current path.

Armstrong was born in Monroe. Taking time to visit other states, he returned in 2007. He has served as an alderman for the Monroe Common Council for nearly four years and sees the mayoral position as a natural progression.

"The current mayor has been there a while and it might be time for a fresh voice," Armstrong said.

The goal of his time in the mayoral seat would be to focus on improvements for the city, Armstrong said. He pointed to recent comprehensive plan meetings which have produced a lot of discussion on city improvements and said it was important to "grow in vision and expand downtown." His main priority is Monroe's growth.

Jan. 5 is the deadline for each hopeful to turn in the proper signatures. If there are more than two viable candidates, the Monroe Common Council will have to vote on whether or not there will be a primary and general election for the position. If so, a primary would be Feb. 16; the general election will be April 5.