NEW BEDFORD — It’s official: Ian Abreu is New Bedford’s new city council president.

Abreu won the seat over fellow nominee Brian Gomes by a hair in a 6-5 vote on Thursday.

It will be his first time serving as city council president in his six-year tenure as councilor-at-large.

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"I hope that we can all work together for the betterment of this body, for this community," he said. "I look forward to working with each and every one of you."

"No matter what your concerns are, your concerns are always going to be my concerns," he added.

Courtesy Maria Giesta
Courtesy Maria Giesta

The vote took place over a week after the council voted Jan. 3 to delay the decision due to three members being out sick with COVID.

The council's previous president, Joe Lopes, was defeated by challenger Ryan Pereira for his Ward 6 seat in a surprise upset in the November election.

That opened up the position to Abreu and Gomes, who vied for the spot.

Gomes is one of the city’s longest-serving councilors, while Abreu consistently earns the highest number of votes among his fellow councilors since his first election in 2015.

Councilor Naomi Carney told WBSM’s Brian Thomas last weekend she would be voting for Abreu because he hasn’t had the job yet, and she believes he deserves a chance.

“I think he’d make a good city council president, so he’s got my support,” she said. "I think he’s earned the right to have the big chair.”

Carney ultimately voted for Abreu, as did both of the city's newest councilors, Shane Burgo and Ryan Pereira.

Ward 2 Councilor Maria Giesta and Ward 4 Councilor Derek Baptiste also voted for Abreu, along with Abreu himself.

The city council president leads the body and serves as acting mayor in the mayor's absence from duty.

Last week, eight of the city's 11 councilors were formally sworn in during a ceremony at Keith Middle School — but Hugh Dunn, Maria Giesta, and Shane Burgo were COVID positive, and stayed home to quarantine.

They were instead sworn in before Thursday's meeting.

Newly appointed New Bedford Fire Chief Scott Kruger was also confirmed and sworn in on Thursday.

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