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Candidates already lining up for 2013 Aurora council race

Bill Donnell 4th Ward aldermanic candidate. | Submitted photo

Bill Donnell, 4th Ward aldermanic candidate. | Submitted photo

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Updated: November 29, 2012 6:23AM

AURORA — Six candidates already have confirmed they will run for 4th Ward alderman in the 2013 Aurora City Council election, after current Alderman Rick Lawrence said he intends to run for an alderman-at-large spot.

So far, Aurora Democrats’ Chairman Mavis Bates; Bill Donnell, chairman of the Aurora Planning Commission; small business owner Duanne Kleckner; student Jay Leonardi; actor Mike Leonardi; and mailman Chuck Norris have announced their run ahead of the February 2013 primary.

Donnell, 55, has led the Aurora Planning Commission for the past 10 years and was director of park operations for the Fox Valley Park District for 27 years.

He now works as a senior landscape architect for Wills Burke Kelsey Associates.

Donnell said he enjoyed being able to make a difference in the community with the park district.

“I would like to continue to contribute to the city I love by working hard to make Aurora an even better place to live and work,” he said.

Kleckner, 50, owns Kleckner Siding and Windows and said the new 4th Ward boundary changes made him want to run for the post. He grew up on the city’s East Side and now lives on the West Side, an advantage in running for the office, he said.

“Being in the business for more than 25 years, I’ve seen changes good and bad and I’d like to continue to help with new issues presented in the ward,” Kleckner said.

Mike Leonardi, 52, an actor and former teacher, announced his intention to run for the post on Facebook after early voting for the Nov. 6 general election.

“While I was there, I picked up petitions to run for 4th Ward alderman in my hometown,” he wrote.

A “staunch independent” and “strong leader,” Mike Leonardi said he’ll rely on his more than 12 years experience as a campaign coordinator for brother-in-law Mike McCoy, former Kane County Board chairman.

Mike Leonardi will square off in the 4th Ward primary against his cousin’s son, 19-year-old Jay Leonardi. The Waubonsee Community College student said he has worked closely with his dad at the family’s small business, Leonardi’s TV, Furniture and Appliances, and is also an investor.

“Incentives and an expedited permit process will make Aurora a more desirable place for businesses to grow,” Jay Leonardi said.

Norris, 36, who ran against Lawrence in 2009, is a mail carrier and part-time police officer with the Leland Police Department. Norris said he’s now working on a bachelor’s degree at Aurora University.

“I deliver mail in the 4th Ward,” Norris said. “My office is your front lawn.”

Norris is a 10-year Marine veteran.

Bates, a former candidate for Kane County clerk, announced her intention to run for 4th Ward alderman in July.

She said she had been considering a run for two years.

“It was the right time to let people know there’s an alternative,” she said.

Lawrence said he won’t be surprised if more candidates announce they will run for 4th Ward alderman, too.

“It’s a big group and hopefully they know it’s not the same 4th Ward that it was,” Lawrence said. “I tell people, ‘Remember, you’ll be my alderman.’”

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