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'I don't like my age to be my qualifying or disqualifying factor': Town's new mayor is 18

Yoncalla Mayor Ben Simons at North Douglas County Fire Department, Nov. 8, 2018. (SBG)

YONCALLA, Ore. (KPIC) - Ben Simons is a student at Umpqua Community College and a volunteer with North Douglas County Fire & EMS.

The 18-year-old Simons is now also the mayor-elect of Yoncalla.

Don't let his age fool you.

He has big plans for the city.

"Keeping up on our infrastructure, our streets, our water facility, our sewer facilities," he said. "Because we've got such a limited budget, we have to be spending those dollars the best that we can."

Simons said he cares about the city - whether it be in government, or responding to a fire call.

At the fire station, they say his go-to attitude is contagious.

"He's really great at getting people together to help us, too," said David Adkisson with North Douglas Fire. "He just goes around, he gets the people - I don't if he pays them or how he does it, but he gets them here and it's great to have his energy in the district."

And they can't wait to see him take seat as mayor.

"It'll be interesting to see how it works out in politics because I know he's inspired me to hopefully look in the future for maybe city council and stuff like that," Adkisson said.

When it comes to city government, this isn't Simons first rodeo.

He was appointed to the City Council back in August, and he wants his experience to matter more than his age.

"Keep it away from my age," he said. "I don't like my age to be my qualifying or disqualifying factor of election."

Simons hopes people in and outside of Yoncalla give him a fair chance as mayor to show that young people can make a difference, too.

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