CALGARY (660 NEWS) – City Council will look much different this fall as a current councillor won’t be running.
Ward 8 Councillor Evan Woolley, who was first elected in 2013, announced he will not seek re-election in the October vote.
In a statement, Woolley said the decision did not come lightly and pointed to changes in his personal life in the past year including the death of his brother and mother and the birth of his son.
— Evan Woolley (@EWoolleyWard8) January 22, 2021
“There were many hours to reflect on my life, and my family, and there was a lot more at the dinner table than talk of politics,” Woolley said, “We are, each one of us, afforded only one life, and I want to live mine to the fullest.”
Woolley reflected on many highlights of his terms in office including bringing changes to infrastructure and protecting heritage assets and community spaces.
He said Calgary has a bright future with public servants who deliver an “extraordinary level of service to our citizens at very low cost.”
WATCH: Woolley not running for re-election, citing personal tragedies, family life
Woolley told 660 NEWS that he has no regrets about his time in City Hall, but also he will not ease up on the work over the next nine months.
“It has been an incredible honour, privilege and just the experience of my life,” he said. “I plan on continuing to work at the same level and pace that I have thus far.”
He added that he doesn’t quite know what the future has in store, but he plans to continue helping the city improve in his next role.
The councillor was also born and raised in the Beltline, increasing his personal connection to his work.
“The responsibility I felt to a community that I was so closely knit to was a lot of pressure, and the neighbourhoods kept me on my toes to undertake and support it and participate in all the things that we accomplished.”
Wolley’s announcement came minutes after fellow Councillor Jeff Davison announced he will run for re-election. Davison also sent a tweet thanking Woolley for his service.
Best of luck to @EWoolleyWard8 as he embraces a new career path and future. I’ve always appreciated your friendship, advice, service and dedication to all Calgarians. #yyccc #Calgary pic.twitter.com/q1kSpoRxcb
— Jeff Davison (@JeffDavisonYYC) January 22, 2021
Shane Keating and Ray Jones are also retiring while councillors Jeromy Farkas and Jyoti Gondek will be seeking the mayor’s chair. Mayor Naheed Nenshi hasn’t made any announcement on his future so far.
This means there will be no less than five vacant seats in the election, and Mount Royal University political scientist Lori Williams said this could drastically change the image of council along with making for an exciting election period.
“The appearance of council, the perspectives it reflects, tone and tenor of the council, all of those things could profoundly change,” she said. “Incumbency will not have the same influence it typically does in municipal elections. I think it will be an election that a lot of people are engaged in, we are likely to see a very high voter turnout.”
Williams said there’s a chance there could be even more vacancies as well, which may be a positive considering the somewhat negative perceptions many Calgarians have of their elected leaders.
“That could be traced, potentially, to two or three particularly difficult actors. Evan Woolley is not one of them, and I think a lot of people are very sorry to see him go. I actually thought he might be running for mayor.”
Moving forward, while Woolley is not exactly sure of what the future has in store, he does look forward to a more normal life and maybe enjoying some more leisure time once the pandemic is over.
“I bet you my phone doesn’t ring as much as it does now, and I’ll have to start paying for parking,” he said with a laugh. “I worked hard before I got elected, and I worked hard during this term and I plan on working hard in the next job. I don’t plan on slowing down, I’m 40-years-old and I’ve got, hopefully, a full life ahead of me still.”