Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun has decided not to run for re-election in the Oct. 15th municipal election.
The surprise announcement from the two-term mayor, who led the city through the devastating November floods last year, came via social media on Monday night (June 13).
Braun said the decision came after “deep and detailed consideration,” leaving him with mixed emotions. His last day as mayor will be Nov. 7.
“Together, as a city council and community, we faced difficult and extreme events these past two years; in fact, I’d be untrue if I didn’t say they were some of the most difficult and extreme I’ve faced in my 54-year career,” Braun’s statement said.
“Leadership during times of risk and uncertainty is without a doubt much more challenging than in times of stability. However, throughout these events, the work of council and city staff continued, without interruption and with admirable performance.”
Braun addressed whether he would seek re-election during the Mayor’s Breakfast at Tradex on May 13. At that time, he said he was still considering it, but a major consideration was, at age 72, making the most of the years he has left.
“The question I ask myself is what do I want to do with that (time) … Another term would eat up four (years),” he said.
First elected to city council in 2011, Braun was elected mayor for the first time in 2014, and a second time four years later. He said he wanted to become a councillor first to get an insider understanding into how local government works.
Braun said “great strides” have been made towards his 2014 election goals – forward thinking, fiscal responsibility, government transparency, and community safety.
Abbotsford’s net financial position has gone from $17 million in the red to a surplus of $349 million during his time in office, Braun said.
He said up until his final day in November, he will continue to work hard to complete the city’s three-year strategic plan and finalize a preferred flood-mitigation option for Sumas Prairie.
Braun said the core of local government is often taken for granted, but not in Abbotsford.
“Abbotsford Fire and Rescue knocks down fires; clean water flows from our taps; Abbotsford Police Department keeps the peace; sewer lines aren’t plugged; potholes are fixed, roads are plowed, ditches are cleaned; garbage and recycling are picked up; parks and recreation facilities are well maintained; well-thought-out drainage and irrigation systems on both Matsqui and Sumas Prairies ensure our farmland continues to be the most productive agricultural land in Canada.”
Braun said serving the community has been “one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” calling it an honour and a privilege.
“I don’t know that I’ll ever find the right words to express how much I appreciate the hard work and commitment of my Abbotsford City Council colleagues, especially during the November flood,” he said.
“Now, dear friends, it’s time to pass the torch.”