Saunders calls it quits

By Geoff Lee

September 14, 2016 2:39 PM

Mayor Rob Saunders

Emotional mayor said he will not seek another term

An emotional Lloydminster mayor, Rob Saunders, announced Wednesday he will not seek re-election in the Oct. 26 municipal election.
His decision comes two days after Coun. Jason Whiting officially announced his candidacy for mayor, but Saunders told the media his decision is personally motivated.
“Each and every time you make a personal commitment to run for public office you usually consult with your family,” he said, before a gathering of city employees and media at city hall,” he said, his eyes red with emotion.
“Through this discussion at this stage in our lives, we felt it was the best time to step aside and let others take the role and responsibility, which allows to do some more personal things which you don’t have a lot of time for when you’re in public service.”
Saunders called it a tough decision and a very emotional time, but a difficult one he made after 13 years of public service.
He said his emotion comes from his love for our city where he grew up and went to school.
“I am passionate about our city; I love our city, I represented our city since I was 10 years old on many fronts,” he said.
Saunders was elected to council for his first of four terms in 2003.
“I never ever thought I’d do more than two or three terms and one thing led to another and here we are 13 years later,” said Saunders.
He was acclaimed deputy mayor in November, 2012 and assumed the role of mayor after former Mayor Jeff Mulligan stepped down in July 2013. He was elected mayor in a byelection on Oct. 16, 2013.
“It’s been a privilege and a very high honour to serve as your mayor,” said Saunders, who noted he will continue to serve the city as a volunteer and in other ways.
“It’s a new chapter in our lives and our decision is that our family is priority,” he said.
Saunders added he would also support the next council, but would not endorse any candidate, including Whiting, at this time with nominations still open to Sept. 21.
“I think that would be unfair to the electorate and to the candidates that haven’t filed their papers,” he said.
“I think we’ll see what the field looks like at that time.”
Saunders said what he’s been most proud of during his terms in office is helping to oversee the city’s tremendous growth over the last 10 years as a regional service hub and attracting families to the city.
“In order to attract young families, we had to be conscious about attracting corporate capital investment into our community,” he said.
“By enticing corporate capital investment into our community, that creates jobs and opportunities for people, so that’s been a successful formula.”
He also said the city has agreed on a growth strategy plan with three surrounding municipalities, namely the County of Vermilion River assisted by interprovincial cooperation.
“I am really excited to see the results from that and keep moving forward and hopefully, we can do more of that work before the end of this term.” 
He went on to say there are always things that could have been changed or done differently, but stressed you can’t live with regret.
“You need to move forward,” he said.
Saunders left the door open to the possibility of returning to employment in the oil industry with the Lloydminster Heavy Oil Show, which ends tonight.
“There’s lots of opportunities there,” said Saunders, about research and development.
“I am not rushing into any particular things—just take some time during the fall and winter season, just take some time for ourselves.”

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