District 2 city council candidates prepare for early voting in Ocala

Ire Bethea Sr. and Reginald E. Landers Jr. are running for the District 2 City Council seat.
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 5:19 PM EDT
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OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) - This election isn’t the first time Ire Bethea Sr. and Reginald E. Landers Jr. compete for a city council seat, but both men hope voters see they have what it takes to represent District 2.

Ocala voters will only see one race on the ballot because no one qualified against incumbent Kristen Dreyer for the District 4 seat or Ben Marciano for Mayor back in July.

RELATED: Ben Marciano is Ocala’s next mayor, four applicants enter qualifying period

Bethea wants residents to re-elect him after representing District 2 for nearly four years.

“I would love to continue with another four years to try to help Ocala and the citizens of Ocala to have a great place to live, work, and prosper,” said Bethea.

He listed off some accomplishments, including his role with the Mary Sue Rich Community Center. He’s focusing on affordable housing, infrastructure, and public safety during this campaign.

Bethea told TV20 he hopes to hire more officers to combat violence and keep Marion County residents safe.

“We want to focus on their salaries, make sure they are competitive,” he said. “We want to focus on recruitment of police officers and we want to make sure that we have a diverse workforce.”

Bethea is running against his former opponent last election, Reginald Landers.

Landers believes communication is key for a successful term. He wants to represent the residents in District 2 by relaying their concerns and visions back to other elected officials.

“To be [residents’] advocate voice on the city council, in which we’ll be able to advocate on their behalf for the vision they would like to see as part of their community,” said Landers.

Landers also wants to develop the district in a way that benefits those who live there, such as parental involvement within the education system.

“They’re the ones who have to live, work, and play within the district boundaries, so why wouldn’t an elected representative want to work with the people who has to work, live, and play in the district, to bring about the change that they want to see,” said Landers.

Early voting begins tomorrow in Marion County through Saturday, Sept. 16 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Both candidates will be campaigning until Election Day next Tuesday, Sept. 19.

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