THE election of a 24-year-old mother upends the perception that council is “a lot of retired old men”, Indigo mayor James Trenery reckons.
On Saturday, Sophie Price became the youngest person to be elected to Indigo Council, with the fourth highest primary tally of 928 votes.
“I’m really excited,” Chiltern-raised Ms Price said.
“I’ve been in the shire for 22 years and five generations of my family have always contributed to the community.”
Ms Price said wanting to aid others and being fostered in politics through helping Indi MP Cathy McGowan’s campaigns had shaped her decision to stand.
The mum of Elsie, 15 months, drew public attention to a lack of childcare in small towns earlier this year.
Cr Trenery, who at 42 had been the youngest councillor elected at the 2012 poll, was thrilled at Ms Price’s victory.
“It’s fantastic, I think councils have to be representative of communities and to have Soph on there, she is representing the young person and that’s essential,” Cr Trenery said.
“There’s a perception of council being a lot of retired old men and Soph is the opposite of that.”
Cr Trenery, who drew 1082 votes, was one of four incumbents returned along with Jenny O’Connor (107), Bernard Gaffney (556) and Barb Murdoch (543).
Roberta Horne (453) and Emmerick Teissl (394) failed to hold council seats.
Former mayor Larry Goldsworthy, who was on council from 2008 to 2012 and had No.1 place on the ballot paper, topped the count with 1394 votes.
“I thought it would be a very tough campaign with so many candidates from Beechworth trying to get on,” Mr Goldsworthy said.
“It’s a privilege to serve the community, I hope I can do the job to the expectations of those that have elected me.”
Indigo Valley’s Diane Shepheard, who has been part of the Ms McGowan-aligned political group Voices for Indi, is the other new member of council.
She collected 488 votes.
Cr O’Connor, a declared Green, said the rise in her vote from 708 in 2012 showed “people are looking for a more progressive voice”.
Cr Gaffney said he would give particular interest to Wahgunyah and Rutherglen residents, now they had reduced representation.
Soph...is representing the young person and that’s essentialIndigo Shire mayor James Trenery