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Gore's Youngest Mayor

Young tech entrepreneur Ben Bell has done it, with 2371 votes, he has become Mayor of Gore; making him the youngest person to become mayor in New Zealand history.

“I am extremely humbled to be elected Mayor of Gore, a vibrant district with so much to offer its locals and those who visit here” Mr Bell says, “I’m thankful to those who made the time and effort to get to know myself and my team throughout our campaign and especially grateful for everyone who voted for me”.

Bell has his fellow candidates from Team Hokonui to thank for all their hard work and dedication; “I’d specifically like to thank Joe Stringer, Janeen Reti and Caveman” say Bell, I wouldn’t have been able to do this without each of you”. He continued “There had been many long days and hard work provided by all the team”.

The late Mary Ogg, who was a former mayor of Gore (1995-2001) had a profound impact on the young mayor during his campaign; both Mary and her husband David had been with Mr Bell each Sunday to give advice and support. “It breaks my heart that Mary passed just two days before the election, I know how invested she was in the result” Bell says. “I hope we made you proud Mary, I know you will be looking down smiling”, continues Bell.

Mr Bell has the people who voted for him to thank and says, “It would be remiss if I didn’t mention the community who elected me, “I want to thank each and every one of you who voted”. The past few days had been loaded with anticipation for everyone no doubt, with Gore being one of the last districts in the country to find out definitively who would be mayor. Bell says, “I’ve had a myriad of emotions this week, but now that the waiting is over, we can get down to business”.

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There will be 4 new faces joining the Gore council come next week, all with an array of skillsets and experience; they will be joined by those who have been councillors for a long time. Bell is looking forward to getting to know them all and what their priorities are. Bell reiterates, "As I said on the campaign trail, I want the community to have a clear voice, and for us as a Council to get back to basics. Those being recycling, rural roads and infrastructure. He continues, “We have a plan for the first 100 days in office, so watch this space!”.

Bell has replaced incumbent Tracy Hicks (70) who has been mayor of Gore for 18 years, Bell says, “I believe the length of time he served is what persuaded the votes in the end”. He continues, “I wish Mr Hicks all the best going forward, 18 years is a great legacy to be remembered for”

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