There will be a new president of the New Bedford City Council in January, and that person should be, without a doubt, Councilor-at-Large Ian Abreu. Voters took the unusual step of kicking an incumbent councilor to the curb in Tuesday's balloting, and that councilor just happened to be the sitting president, Ward 6 Councilor Joe Lopes.

Ian Abreu finished fifth overall in his first bid for the council in 2015. In other words, he eked out a win in a low turn-out election with just over 1,200 votes. But Abreu hasn't looked back.

In 2017, Abreu scored 18 percent of the total vote for a solid second-place finish behind only veteran councilor Brian Gomes. In 2019, Abreu topped the field, finishing 768 votes ahead of Naomi Carney. On Tuesday, Abreu cemented his position as the top voter getter by besting the second-place finisher Gomes by 707 votes. Abreu has won more votes than any other councilor in two consecutive municipal elections and should be the council president for 2022.

Abreu is by far the most popular city councilor with the voting public. He is a champion of constituent service, the likes of which we haven't seen since George Rogers served on the council. Abreu is the go-to guy when New Bedford residents need assistance. He has earned his position at the top of the heap.

Abreu should have been elected council president after his win in 2019. Some broken promises and backroom wheeling and dealing prevented that from occurring.

Ian Abreu has fully earned the council presidency, and his colleagues should unite behind him to see that that happens.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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