YONCALLA, Ore. (KEZI/CNN) – In the small town of Yoncalla, Oregon, voters elected a new mayor—one who’s barely old enough to vote himself.
18-year-old mayor-elect Ben Simons said, “I feel at home. This is the place that I’ve grown up. This is the place that I like to be.”
Simons just graduated high school in June, but now he has the responsibility of an entire town on his shoulders.
After receiving 41% of the vote election night, Simons became the town’s youngest mayor in its history. “My age shouldn’t be my qualifying or disqualifying factor,” Simons said. “That I really got the skill set and the ambition to take on this and I hope to do good for this community.”
Besides his new gig, he’s also a student at Umpqua Community College after he graduated as the valedictorian at Yoncalla High School.
Not to mention, he’s also a Yoncalla city councilor and volunteer firefighter for the North Douglas County Fire Department.
Yoncalla has a population of a little more than 1,000 people.
KEZI spoke to some residents who are optimistic with Simons as the new mayor and are excited for a change.
Yoncalla resident Don Gambocarto explained, “It’s mostly been an older generation running the city, mostly the same people time after time 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, maintaining streets, infrastructure and anything else that’s necessary.
Simons said, “I’m really hoping that I can provide my best to this town and that will be beneficial to as many people as possible.”