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Yoncalla elects 18-year-old in mayor race

Ben Simons received 41 percent of the vote election night, beating out two other candidates and becoming the town's youngest mayor in its history.

Posted: Nov 7, 2018 6:25 PM
Updated: Nov 9, 2018 9:40 AM

YONCALLA, Ore. -- The small town of Yoncalla made history Tuesday night, electing an 18-year-old as their new mayor.

Ben Simons received 41 percent of the vote on election night, beating out two other candidates and becoming the town's youngest mayor in its history.

He graduated as the valedictorian at Yoncalla High School back in June. Simons is currently a student at Umpqua Community College studying general studies.

Simons is also a Yoncalla city councilor and volunteer firefighter for the North Douglas County Fire Department.

Simons said he's lived in Yoncalla his whole life and hopes to make a difference.

"My age shouldn't be my qualifying or disqualifying factor, that I really got the skill set and the ambition to take on this and I hope to do good for this community."

Yoncalla has a population of a little more than 1,000 people. KEZI 9 News spoke to some residents who are optimistic with Simons as the new mayor and are excited for a change.

"It's mostly been an older generation running the city, mostly the same people time after time,” Don Gambocarto said. “So, it's really good to get some new blood in there and some new ideas and some people who are going to be around for a little while."

As mayor, Simons said he wants to make sure that money is being spent to the best of their abilities, by maintaining streets, infrastructure and anything else that's necessary.

Simons begins his term as mayor Jan. 1.

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