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Monroe chief to run for city council

Debra Duncan
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Debra Duncan, Monroe police chief

A day after confirming her retirement, Monroe Police Chief Debra Duncan said on Friday she is running for city council.

Duncan turned in her paperwork with less than an hour to go before Friday’s noon filing deadline.

This should be one of the more interesting local races in the Charlotte region. Councilwoman Margaret Desio, one of Duncan’s most vocal critics on the bitterly divided seven-member council, is among those seeking re-election.

“Did I (run) out of any type of revenge? The answer is no,” Duncan told the Observer. “I still want to serve the residents of Monroe. … I hope to bring the council together. We need to work together and be on the same page, and that has not been happening.”

There are three council seats up for grabs. Council members Desio, Freddie Gordon and John Ashcraft Jr. are seeking reelection. They are part of the board majority, along with Lynn Keziah.

Other challengers for the four-year council seats are Surluta Anthony, Cary Rogers, Kenneth Graham and Joy Heath.

Asked about Duncan’s last-minute entry, Desio said she’s glad when citizens look to serve the public in the political arena.

“We’ll see what happens on election day,” Desio said. “It’s going to be very interesting.”

Monroe’s general election is on Oct. 8. If a run-off is needed, it would be on the day other municipal elections are held, Nov. 5.

Councilwoman Dottie Nash, a staunch supporter of the chief and currently in the board minority, spoke about a possible Duncan candidacy Thursday. Nash said she thought Duncan would make an excellent council member “because she tries to be open and aboveboard with everyone she deals with.”

Duncan, Monroe’s first female chief, has led the force since July 2006 and has 33 years of law enforcement experience. She is retiring Sept. 1.

This is her first time seeking public office. Duncan said she wants to run a positive campaign, promote transparency in government and continue to use her leadership skills and knowledge of how local government works on the council.

The chief said she likes her chances in the race, but noted that it is up to the voters to decide what type of government they want.

If she wins, Duncan would not be the first ex-chief to sit on the board. Mayor Bobby Kilgore also is a former Monroe chief. Kilgore is running for re-election, and faces Kyle Hayes and councilman Lynn Keziah, whose council seat is not up for election this year.

Bell: 704-358-5696; on Twitter: @abell
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