MONROE — Angelia James keeps a busy schedule.
James is an accountant She’s also the varsity girls basketball coach at Porter Ridge High and a councilwoman for the City of Monroe.
Two years after being elected to City Council in 2019, James is now running for Mayor of Monroe. She said her main objective is to make Monroe a fun and active destination. One of the ways she was able to do that as a council member was to help bring food trucks downtown at events like monthly cruise-ins and Music on Main.
She has several priorities on her campaign agenda, but if the main one — crime — can be reduced it would have a positive effect on the other priorities. Getting youth involved in afterschool programs and keeping City-owned gyms open past 4 p.m. on the weekends is how she plans to reduce crime in addition to adding more activities for kids and places where they can have fun. Too, getting teens employed at local, small businesses would not only help businesses who are short staffed, but it may help grow the City’s economy which is another priority on James’ campaign agenda.
Among James’ priorities is promoting small businesses and adding more affordable housing. Her goal, should she be elected, is to have developers gather together to form a plan. James said affordable housing has been heavily discussed, but with little action behind those conversations.
The last time the Enquirer-Journal interviewed James, she was elected to her first and only term on city council. According to James, she accomplished the addition of food trucks at downtown events. She’s currently working on the possibility of a mural on a bridge near Belk Tonawanda Park. She hopes to have local high school students paint the mural.
“I was able to make a few phone calls with the county … and in two weeks we moved that project forward. The city has been doing a lot of talking, but they haven’t been doing a lot of action. I am a person who is about action,” James said.
James said while talking about ideas and planned projects is important, action is the key to a thriving city.
Her rookie mistake was not listening to more people to learn more. She said she doesn’t regret those mistakes, but instead, she sees them as “life lessons” and opportunities to learn.
As a councilwoman, James learned to listen to citizens and remain unbiased when making important decisions. “We have got to work together as citizens, [we’ve] got to work together as elected officials, because people put us in these positions…We have to make sure we are doing the right thing by all citizens of Monroe. We can’t be one sided in how we do things.”
What James wants voters to know before heading to the polls is that she is about transparency, partnerships and economic growth. Too, she challenged voters to vote for someone new, instead of “voting the same way.”
“If you’re sick and tired of how things have been going on here in Monroe — you’ve got power in your vote. You can make a difference in that … Don’t vote the same way. Don’t vote for people because you know them. I need for you to vote for people that’s going to get the job done for the City of Monroe,” James said.
When asked what separates her from other candidates, James listed her ability to command attention, being a basketball coach and accountant, being a leader, her extroverted personality and ability to connect with a variety of people.
In talking about current Mayor of Monroe Bobby Kilgore, James said he has “done a great job” in bringing new things to the city like restoring the Dowd Center Theatre on Main Street and the Monroe Science Center.
The municipal election is on Nov. 2.
The Enquirer-Journal is in the process of interviewing all candidates for City of Monroe mayor and council.