Ashlee’s election provides younger, female voice in council chamber
ASHLEE Fitzpatrick has taken up her new role as an incoming councillor for the Rural City of Wangaratta with enthusiasm as the youngest ever to serve in the municipality.
Ms Fitzpatrick, 19, was elected on Monday via a vote countback, filling the role left vacant due to the sudden passing of former councillor Ruth Amery last month.
Votes were tallied by preferences, which were redirected from Cr Amery, with previous individual first preference votes deemed null and void.
All unsuccessful candidates for the City Ward were in the running and Ms Fitzpatrick finished on top with 1287 votes, with Greg Mirabella placing second on 680, followed in order by George Dimopolous, Russell Stone, Luke Davies and Dr Julian Fidge.
With a passion for youth issues, Ms Fitzpatrick, who is employed by Junction Support Services, has identified that young people’s mental health will be at the forefront as she takes up the council position.
Ms Fitzpatrick, who had her pop Alan by her side when the result was announced, described the appointment as a“revolutionary” opportunity.
“I’m grateful that young women are now on board and the youth perspective will come in and the different age range and diversity is fantastic,” she said.
“I would like to thank everyone for their support and it was an unfortunate chain of events that had to lead us here,” she said in reference to Cr Amery’s passing.
“I thank Ruth’s family and my condolences to them.”
She conceded that it would be a learning curve for her to start with on council but indicated she won’t be afraid to put her opinions forward.
“I do have my opinions but I am quite open-minded and sometimes you have to wait and get everyone’s point of view,” she said.
“Being young I might see things from a different perspective and they might not like my opinions but that’s what the community wants.”
Beyond her immediate term on council Ms Fitzpatrick said she’ll work hard to make sure more youth put up their hand for council.
“If I had to be the first to do that, it was me who had to go ‘hey you know what, our views and opinions are important to get this town moving’,” she said.
Ms Fitzpatrick will be sworn in on Monday.
WELL DONE: Ashlee Fitzpatrick is congratulated by her pop, Alan Fitzpatrick, after being elected as the Rural City of Wangaratta council’s youngest ever councillor.
MAKING IT OFFICIAL: Returning officer Charmaine Morel (pictured, left) declared Ashlee Fitzpatrick’s success after a countback of votes.