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ELKO — Elko voters changed the face of the city council with the election of two businessmen, Chip Stone and Bill Hance.

Stone received 2,907 votes, or 32.68 percent, of 8,896 Elkoans casting ballots in early voting and Election Day. Hance was second with 20.50 percent, receiving 1,824 votes.

Voted in to fill one of the two seats on the city council, Stone said his election was “a very humbling thing.”

Hance said despite a low amount of funds raised for his campaign, he was pleased with the results.

“I’m happy I made it through the race being the lowest funded and the lowest-signage candidate of the entire group, basically,” Hance said.

Both councilmen-elect said they felt the responsibility given to them by Elko residents, and hoped to serve them well.

“I am so excited to turn the page and make this what the City of Elko who has voted for me is expecting out of me and I won’t let them down,” Stone said.

“I’m happy to have the confidence of the voters of Elko and look forward to serving them going forward,” Hance said.

After Hance, Rowena Smith received 1,677 votes, Jenna Secrist, who dropped out of the campaign in July, received 1,600 votes, and attorney Tony Liker received 888 votes.

Calling marijuana a “legitimate business” during the candidate forum in October, Hance voiced his support for citizens’ rights to have access to medical marijuana.

Hance also cited his prior experience in government, mining and gaming as being an asset to the city council. He told voters in his candidate statement to the Elko Daily Free Press that he would seek to put citizens at ease who approached the City on any matter.

“You should not feel intimidated asking for information, doing business with or addressing any governing body,” Hance wrote.

Owner of three businesses and involved in multiple civic organizations, Stone said he spent the day before the election thanking those who supported his campaign.

Throughout his campaign, Stone said he wanted to promote family recreation and improve the business landscape, along with striving for improvements in broadband service and strengthening the input from Spring Creek residents.

“I am invested in Elko with three companies in our city,” Stone wrote in his campaign statement. “I understand the Elko community needs to be heard and needs a voice!”

Stone also stated that although he supported individuals who opted to use medical marijuana, he was not in favor of allowing a marijuana dispensary to open in Elko until the federal government officially downgraded cannabis as a Schedule I substance.

The newly elected officials join Reece Keener as the new mayor.

Members of the city council take office on Jan. 1, but may be sworn in the following day due to the holiday.

As city employees, council members are paid $9,636 per year, are eligible for health insurance coverage and receive Public Employees Retirement System service credit.

Two seats opened up this year when Keener stepped down to run for mayor and John Patrick Rice declined to run for another term.

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Courts, schools & Spring Creek reporter

Staff writer for the Elko Daily Free Press

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