NEW BEDFORD — The city’s Ward 3 has range. Straddling New Bedford’s mid-section, the ward rolls from middle-class neighborhoods near the Dartmouth line to the rough, post-industrial turf of the Hicks-Logan district along the Acushnet River waterfront.

So, too, the seven candidates competing for the two top slots in the preliminary round of the special election on Jan. 24 offer a wide range of experience.The winner of the Feb. 28 final election will fill the seat vacated by City Councilor Hugh Dunn, who stepped down last month, saying his work with a Boston law firm left little time for council tasks.

Technically, it’s a part-time job — pays $27,000, except for the council president, who makes $32,000 — but some of the contenders see it as a full-time commitment. Most are seeking public office for the first time, approaching the task from very different directions. (Follow the links for each name to read detailed candidate profiles.)

Carmen Amaral has worked in education for years, first as a science teacher, now as academic coordinator for Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical School in Rochester.

Robert Bromley, a history enthusiast and long a volunteer for local organizations, for decades has worked as a budget analyst for the Rhode Island State Senate.

Robert Cabral has been an entrepreneur, store manager and case manager for a homeless advocacy nonprofit in New Bedford.

Kathy Dehner works part time as a real estate agent, but she’s also previously served on the City Council.

Shawn Oliver has never sought public office before, but the correctional officer at MCI-Cedar Junction, a maximum-security state prison, said he feels the time is right.

John F. Robinson spent most of his professional life as a musician and music teacher, and also now works as a real estate agent.

Jacob J. Ventura is a lawyer for an international firm, working out of the Boston office, with government experience as an administrative aide for a Massachusetts state senator. 

Each has been knocking on doors, hearing residents’ concerns, and feels best suited to serve as a ward advocate on the council. 

Email staff reporter Arthur Hirsch at

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