Monroe city council candidates

Sep. 19, 2013 @ 05:50 PM

Surluta B. Anthony

Full Name: Surluta B. Anthony

Age/Birth date: 65 10/04/1947

Address: 1307 Virginia Ave.  Monroe,N.C. 28112

Spouse: Widow, Richard A. Anthony III

Children: Four

Occupation: Probation Parole Officer

Clubs, organizations: Order of Eastern Star, North Carolina Probation Association, American Correctional Institute, Veterans of Foreign Wars Ladies Auxiliary, Phi Theta Kappa and Alpha Kappa Delta,Inc

Prior elective office: North Carolina Head Start Association Second Vice

Phone/email: 704-890-8512


Why are you running?

I am a native; by choice I raised my family here, thus I have a vested interest and love for the city. I want the best quality of life possible for all citizens. I am willing to serve. I have 45 years’ public service in two capacities: employee and volunteer. I have prepared myself further for service my completing both the Monroe Citizens Academy and the Monroe Citizens Police Academy. I participate with Monroe’s Diversity Council and serve on Monroe’s Planning Board. I am a choice for change.


What qualities do you bring?

Patient, Professional, Proactive, Integrity, Practical, Sense of humor, Focused, Results-Oriented, Sincere, Objective and Honesty.


What are the three most important issues facing your community:

Public Safety, preserving our parks and recreation/strengthening communities and transparency in city government.


If elected, what can you do about those issues?

Advocating community policing, a strong commitment to our parks and recreation programs, access communities’ strengths and weaknesses, collaborate with various agencies and projects,exp.Economic Development and being approachable, aware and accountable.


How do you intend to unite the city council and move Monroe forward?

By promoting the 3 C’s for city council: commitment, cooperation and communication.


John B. Ashcraft, Jr.

Age/Birth date: 61, Jan. 5, 1952

Address: 2203 Arden Drive, Monroe 

Spouse: Debra Peay Ashcraft

Children: Son, John Bulla Ashcraft III and daughter, Brandon Ashcraft Kornfeld

Occupation: Commercial Real Estate Broker

Clubs, organizations: Wells Fargo Bank and Trust (Monroe), Board of Directors; Union County Community Foundation, Board of Directors; Monroe Tourism Development Authority, Chair and member of the Monroe Rotary Club

Prior elective office: City of Monroe Council Member, two terms 

Phone/email: 704-291-9626/ 


Why are you running?

Monroe is my home; I’ve lived here all my life. I care greatly about our city and the direction in which Monroe grows and prospers. The city has seen many successes during my eight-year service as councilman, but there is much to be done. I want to continue to be a part of Monroe’s progress. 

What qualifies you for this position?

I bring 40-plus years of business and community leadership here in Monroe and Union County, plus eight years experience on council. I believe in leadership based on a value system of integrity and fairness with the public and employees. I do not believe in favoritism, nepotism, secretly taping of city employee conversations or retaliation against employees who speak out. If re-elected, I plan to keep this value system of integrity and fairness in the forefront with straightforward discussion of the problems and issues facing Monroe.

What are the three most important issues facing your community:

1.  Jobs. As a city, we need to continue, through our partnership with Union County, to recruit good paying industries that complement existing industries and support growth in our existing industries. Even though we continually enjoy the lowest unemployment rate in the Charlotte region, currently 8%, our unemployment is still high. We can’t grow our city if our citizens don’t have good paying jobs and benefits. The city must continue to grow and improve the Charlotte-Monroe Executive Airport, an important economic engine that helps the city recruit outstanding industries that provide jobs. Council funded the runway extension and plans to improve its weight capacity to allow bigger planes. With the new customs facility, due next summer, corporations with international connections can fly directly into Monroe and clear customs without the drive to and from Charlotte. This asset makes Monroe highly marketable and gives us a competitive edge in industry recruitment, which creates more jobs for our citizens.

2. Downtown. We need to continue to improve and be creative in improving our downtown and surrounding neighborhoods, using the Downtown Master Plan as our guide. Potential residents and businesses are keenly interested in the commitment we, as a city, have to our downtown and surrounding neighborhoods. They want to know if the area is run down and abandoned or if it’s vibrant? The City Council voted to purchase the old Center Theater location using motel-tax funds from the Monroe Tourism Development Authority and with the Authority’s recommendation. We want to protect the historic building from further decay by stabilizing it and to partner with the right developer to bring the theater back to its highest and best use. 

3. Public safety. Residents must feel safe and secure in Monroe – everywhere in Monroe. Our city must maintain strong fire and police departments, with the best technology, training and personnel available. Growing our downtown and maintaining neighborhoods cannot happen without a strong public safety making living a safe experience for businesses and families.

If elected, what can you do about those issues?

I will actively support all economically feasible efforts to push these goals forward. In addition, I will encourage staff to investigate innovative ways to fund these and other progressive programs. Council has been most supportive of all of the above and I plan to ensure we continue in this direction and not backslide. 

How do you intend to unite the city council and move Monroe forward?

I can’t make anyone do anything they don’t have an interest in doing. I can use my position to make sure we, as a council, put in the necessary checks and balances to run our city and city council with integrity, honesty and fairness, as our forefathers did. We began this process by implementing consultant Parker Poe Adams and Bernstein recommendations to avoid nepotism, inappropriate influence by mayor and council in the hiring process and tape recording employee conversations. I plan to stay this course. As a lifelong-resident of Monroe, I take a great deal of pride in our city and I have been saddened and embarrassed by the actions of some who, through their actions, have taken some of the shine off our great city. These are issues we must deal with and move forward in the best interest of the entire city.


Margaret Damon Desio

Age/Birth date: 65, February 18, 1948

Address: 2215 Knollgate Drive, Monroe, N.C. 28112

Spouse: Single

Children: 2 Daughters, Morrow Desio Deese and Hayden Desio Munn

Occupation: NC State Certified General Real Estate Appraiser

Clubs, organizations: Volunteer work with Operation Reach Out and the Taste of Union, Board of The Alliance for Children, life-long member and elder in the First Presbyterian Church, served on many public committees for the City of Monroe and past board of the Red Cross

Prior elective office: Monroe City Council 2009-2013

Phone/email: Office: 704-283-4493 and cell 704-282-7552, and


Why are you running? 

I made a commitment to help Monroe live up to its fullest potential. This commitment includes: honesty, integrity and trust. It also includes keeping Monroe on a solid financial footing through difficult economic times and to help Monroe face its challenges with experienced leadership and knowledge. A baseline understanding of these challenges is key to moving forward in the future at a steady, responsible pace. We in Monroe should be focused on the future through solid leadership and our most valuable resource, which is our citizens. We have seen a rebirth in the downtown area and the purchase of the Center Theater will be a valuable contribution. Our airport is growing with the addition of an international customs terminal and a new fire station at Bakers is underway. I am looking forward to serving the citizens of Monroe and playing a part in its future growth.


What qualifies you for this position?

I was raised and grew up in Monroe, as were my parents, my grandparents and my great-grand parents. I also raised my children here and we all were educated in the Monroe Public Schools. You can see I have a very deep and vested interest in Monroe and in its people. I am very open to ideas from other areas of the country and if these ideas would be a good fit for Monroe. We need not re-invent the wheel if someone elsewhere has done it better. I am a business owner in downtown Monroe and have been for 36 years. I own real estate in Monroe and am a taxpayer. I have a knowledge of budgeting requirements and how the business world works. I graduated from Monroe High School and have a BS in Liberal Studies with a concentration in psychology from Wingate University. I have a passion for honesty and integrity and have no problems righting wrongs when I see them.


What are the three most important issues facing your community?

Jobs, schools and the maintenance and/or removal of deteriorated properties (Clean up Monroe). I am of the opinion that no one wants to move into a dirty or unattractive city.


If elected, what can you do about those issues?

1. We have recently merged the City and County Economic Development Commissions which will be a great partnership in recruiting industry to Monroe and to Union County, thus creating more and higher paying jobs. The creation of the Monroe Bypass will invite more industry and development into the northwestern section of Union County and create an updated network of transportation for Monroe. Improvements made to our airport will attract more world wide industry and plans to improve our retail development are underway. The addition of the customs office will make Monroe, one of only 42 areas in the country with this ability and will add a star to our profile in the international communities.

2. We have been working to increase the performance of the Monroe City School Cluster. The Monroe City School Cluster continues to be the lowest performing schools in Union County. Through a system of magnet schools, charter schools and school academies we hope to raise the performance levels of our schools to that of the other schools in Union County System.

3. Through our Code Enforcement System here in the City, we are identifying properties which are in dilapidated and deteriorating condition. We are requiring the owners to either repair them or tear them down. We are adding landscaping to Hwy 74 and are maintaining these areas with mowing and flowers more frequently. We have been landscaping downtown parking lots and adding new trash cans and pet stations. More can and will be done, but this is a start.


How do you intend to unite the city council and move Monroe forward?

I will unite City Council and move Monroe forward through strong and insightful leadership. Honesty, integrity and trust must be the building blocks to unite this council. Through the Parker Poe report, we learned of many detrimental issues our employees were concerned about and these will be addressed and corrected. We have hired a new city manager, John D’Agostino, who is a firm believer in our form of government and will see that the council governs as it should. Regaining the trust of our employees and learning from our past is central to moving Monroe forward. Monroe is a great place to live, work and play and I am dedicated to seeing that it remains great into the future.

Debra Duncan

Age/Birth date: 58, 2/27/1955

Address: 4128 Saint James Way, Monroe NC  28110

Spouse: John Bennett

Children: Ashley Duncan

Occupation: Retired chief of police for Monroe and law student, Charlotte School of Law

Clubs, organizations: Current member, Union County Advisory Council Safe Alliance and Crime stoppers; past board member Union County Literacy Council. Held numerous leadership positions in local, state and international police organizations.

Prior elective office:  None

Phone/email:, 704-220-6150, website:

Why are you running? 

It has been an honor to serve Monroe for the past seven years and I want to continue to serve. I have seen first-hand how our city government operates and the challenges that we are currently facing. I am proud to call Monroe home and I dedicate myself to the continual improvement of our community.

What qualifies you for this position?

I have proven leadership ability earned over a decorated 33 years in local government, from my beginnings as a beat police officer to police chief. I have worked with many people at all levels of public service and many elected officials at the local, state and federal levels of government. My professional experience has provided me with an invaluable skill set to bridge the gap across social and economic boundaries.

What are the three most important issues facing your community:

Ensuring transparency in city government and fiscal responsibility with taxpayer dollars, providing support to our internationally accredited police and fire departments and giving them the necessary resources to make residents feel safe in their homes and bringing small business and affordable housing to our senior citizens. 

If elected, what can you do about those issues?

1. Secret meetings and back room deals should not be tolerated. Taxpayers deserve to know why and where their dollars are being spent.

2. Streamlining the process for local businesses to expand and for new businesses to relocate here. Even though the current council voted against senior housing, this needs to be revisited.

3. The present council cut numerous public safety positions from recent budgets, which has caused a strain on overall public safety operations. Those positions need to be reinstated. Strengthening our public safety departments and personnel is best done by giving them the necessary support and resources to continue making Monroe a safe place to live.


How do you intend to unite the city council and move Monroe forward?

Bringing people together is one of my strong points. I have extensive experience serving in leadership positions in three different law enforcement agencies. At each agency I combined different viewpoints and ideas into one common vision. For the good of the city, we must move past petty disagreements and move toward a common vision of growth and financial soundness for the future. I will work diligently to bring together a divided council, just as I did with the police department when I was appointed chief.