After more than 30 years in politics, Osgoode city councillor Doug Thompson announced he will not be running in the 2014 municipal election.
Thompson has been the councillor for Osgoode since amalgamation. Prior to that, he spent 17 years on the former Osgoode Township Council, the last three as mayor.
The decision to step down was "very difficult" after 31 years representing Osgoode, he said.
"It is part of your being, there's no doubt about that," he said. "It has been an agonizing decision to make because I really enjoy what I'm doing."
Thompson planned to retire before the last municipal election — and had even picked out a spot and an emcee for his retirement party — but was talked out of it, he said.
"Four years ago, I had made up my mind: I wasn't running. I let the news out to the wrong people, I guess, and they started lobbying," he said. "They convinced me to run again."
One of his proudest political moments came in his last term, when he successfully fought for the casino at the Rideau-Carleton Raceway.
"There's 900 jobs there, probably $20 million in salaries for the local economy. And people said to me, 'Doug, you're not going to win this one,'" he said. "But I was determined to win the battle and I persevered."
Now, he said, he's ready to hand over the reins.
"My health is good, I'm still excited about politics but there comes a time when you have to make that decision," he said. "I feel, and I truly believe, Osgoode ward is in very good shape. If there were major issues facing the community I probably would not have decided to retire."
Thompson is looking forward to spending more time with his wife, six children and seven grandchildren.
"I know it's a cliché, but it is true," he said.
Thompson lost his first run at Osgoode council in 1978.
His long political career followed his 35 years as an elementary school teacher. Thompson has also coached minor hockey and baseball.