Two well-known candidates have entered the race to represent Bettendorf's Third Ward: Former Community Development Director Bill Connors and Don Wells, the vice chairman of Bettendorf’s parks and recreation board.

Connors points to his 20 year-career with Bettendorf’s city administration as a big reason why 3rd Ward residents should elect him. In an interview, he said he’s grateful for his long career in city government and wants the opportunity to give back to his community.

“I want to be able to help the residents of the city,” Connors said. “I want to be responsive to their needs. If people have concerns or issues in the 3rd Ward, I want to be there for them.”

Wells draws on his 10 years with as an elected parks commissioner. He pointed to his experience with Bettendorf’s city government and running area nonprofit Greater Bettendorf Community Foundation among his qualifications for the job. He also noted he’s lived in the community for more than 40 years, saying he’s “satisfied” with the job on the parks board but wants to see if he “can make a difference on a bigger scale.”

 “I’ve had a great working relationship with all the councilmen over the years,” Wells said Tuesday afternoon during a phone interview. “And all this because I’ve been working hand in hand (with them), making sure that the parks and recreation department is well taken care of.”

The vacancy on Bettendorf’s city council comes after the death of longtime Alderwoman Debe LaMar, who was first elected to represent the southwest-side ward in 1997. LaMar, who retained the seat uninterrupted for 20 years, died in November following a long bout with cancer. She was 61.

Both Connors and Wells considered LaMar a friend.

“I would just as soon that the third ward seat was not available at this time,” Connors added. “But we don’t have any control over that.”

“I’ve known Debe LaMar for a very long time and … I always told Debe as long as she was our alderman in the third ward, that I would never run against her,” Wells said, calling her passing unfortunate.

The special election is scheduled for March 5. The winner of the special election will have to stand for reelection in November. Both candidates say they’ll seek a full term if they win in March.

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