A former Queanbeyan High School student, Canberra Raiders “fanatic” and dad of three is set to lead the region into 2022 and beyond with Kenrick Winchester this evening named mayor of Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council.

Mr Winchester, 38, was elected mayor at a QPRC meeting this evening. In a poll of 11 councillors – nine of whom were brand new to council this evening – Mr Winchester scored seven votes for the top job, making him Queanbeyan’s 26th mayor. Labor’s Esma Livermore, the first Aboriginal woman ever elected to council, was named deputy mayor.

New mayor Kenrick Winchester with (from left) daughter Darcy, son Harry, wife Kathy and baby daughter Evie. Photo: Jamila Toderas

Mr Winchester said he was delighted to take on the role after nine years as a councillor.

“It’s a huge honour but also a major challenge – it’s been a very difficult few months for the people of our region to say the least,” he said.

“Helping small business, schools and the community gain stability after months of uncertainty will be a priority. And a deep and detailed reviewing of council’s budget is in order.”

Mr Winchester was first elected to Queanbeyan City Council in 2012 and played a strong role as a young leader through Queanbeyan City Council’s forced merger with Palerang Council in 2016. 

“It’s always been my aim to play a long-term role as a leader of my community,” he said.

The new mayor with son Harry at a recent Green Machine game.

“I’m a very proud Queanbeyanite, I was born and bred in the town and am now raising my own family here.

“I’m honoured in the showing of faith in me, my values and my leadership potential from my fellow councillors.”

Mr Winchester has strong ties to the Queanbeyan-Palerang region. His paternal grandparents met at a dance in Braidwood and lived for many years in Captains Flat while his maternal grandparents lived for many years in Bungendore before settling in Queanbeyan.

The former Raiders Army organiser showed early leadership potential even as a young boy, elected school captain of both Queanbeyan East Public and Queanbeyan High schools.

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