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Voters throughout southeast Iowa will go to the polls on November 7 to fill city council seats and elect mayors. There are contested races in some of the largest cities: Keokuk, Fort Madison, and Burlington.Tri States Public Radio talked to the candidates in these cities about their campaigns and put together an online audio election guide. Hear what the candidates have to say and become informed before you vote.

Election 2017 - Keokuk City Council - 1st Ward - Mike O'Connor

Jason Parrott
Mike O'Connor is running for re-election in Keokuk's Ward 1.

Two people are running for the Ward 1 seat on the Keokuk City Council: Incumbent Mike O'Connor and Dianne Stanley. O'Connor said public service has always been a part of his life and he wants to continue to serve the city.

O'Connor said he still gets a great satisfaction from serving on the city council, even after more than a decade in office. He said he brings honesty, commitment, a willingness to follow through, and common sense to the board.

O'Connor said he's proud of his votes to create the city manager position in Keokuk, to build the new aquatic center, and to bring in the entertainment barge from the Quad Cities. He said he would like to see the barge used as a conference center and as a home for a culinary arts program through SCC.

O'Connor said the biggest challenge facing the city is the federally-mandated sewer separation project. He said the $70+ million price tag is affecting every other aspect of city government. **NOTE - O'Connor said during the interview the per-resident cost would be roughly $70,000 instead of $7,000**

O'Connor said if elected to another term, he would focus on economic development and quality of life issues, including the development of a hiking/biking trail system along the riverfront and through the city.

Early voting is underway in Keokuk ahead of the November 7 general election.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.