New mayor Rachel Reese at Nelson City Council on Monday. Photo: Andrew Board.

Rachel Reese elected mayor of Nelson

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Nelson has a new mayor and for the first time ever it’s a woman.

Rachel Reese stormed to victory on Saturday, collecting 7887 votes, almost 1500 more than the incumbent Aldo Miccio.

She heads up a new team featuring five new councillors and says the win was a clear signal from Nelson voters that they want change. She plans to start those changes as soon as possible. “I campaigned on very clear priorities and how I wanted to drive the council for the next three years. So I will be sitting down with councillors over the next few days and talking to them about what they want to achieve over the next three years.”

She says she celebrated the win with friends and family and was “absolutely delighted” with the result and the margin. “We went into Friday night thinking it could have gone either way so it was fantastic to hear the results. It’s a really strong, positive vote. I think people picked up on the messages I was delivering and they know how I operate and what I do and I feel really good about that.”

Although not sworn in until next week, the mayor-elect said she started the job on Sunday morning with a public event and was looking forward to plenty more.

“We live in a fantastic community and we have some really good people in Nelson and as mayor you get a really good opportunity to get out and meet the people of Nelson. You hear what’s important for them.”

She says key priorities will be those she spelt out during the campaign, including bringing back standing committees and getting councillors involved in communities more. She also wants to address the wood burner issue and the “nuts and bolts” issues that affect Nelsonians every day.

“I want a council table where we have 13 ambassadors for the city. Being a councillor is far more than just turning up to the meetings and they’ll be out in the community.”

Rachel was congratulated by other candidates, Brian McGurk and Aldo Miccio on Saturday, the latter saying Nelson had elected a strong team on council and he was sure the city was in safe hands. He said he was bitterly disappointed however.

Rachel also hailed the efforts of her campaign team, especially those of her partner Richard Harden, who doubled as her campaign manager.