Calgary

Coun. Evan Woolley will not seek re-election this fall

Evan Woolley said he will explore opportunities in the private sector once he completes his current term this October.

Woolley says he will explore opportunities in the private sector when term concludes

Coun. Evan Woolley says he will explore opportunities in the private sector once he completes his current term this October. (Justin Pennell/CBC)

Another member of city council has announced he will not seek re-election this fall.

Coun. Evan Woolley says he will explore opportunities in the private sector once he completes his current term this October.

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"The decision to step back from public life has not been an easy one," said Woolley in an interview with CBC News.

He points to the death of his brother from a fentanyl overdose earlier in his current term, the death of his mother and the birth of his son as being catalysts for his decision.

"We only get one life and I have made a decision not to run. I want to live that fullest life," said Woolley.

"I've learned a lot of skills in this and I would like to take those skills back to the private sector where I can work on new and different things."

Woolley was first elected in 2013, arriving on city council in his early 30s.

He said that he never intended that being a councillor would become his "forever job."

'Come and do this'

But it's one that he's recommending to others.

He said it's more important than ever that young people but also women and members of Calgary's various different racial and ethnically diverse communities should consider running for city council.

"Come and do this," said Woolley. "This work is incredibly fulfilling, incredibly meaningful."

As for what he'll miss about being a city councillor, he said that the range of files he's been able to work on has been exciting and he'll miss the many talented people he was able to work with.

What will he not miss?

He joked about endless council meetings not being high on his list. But he noted politics does take a toll on a person and their family.

Woolley pointed out politics has also changed since he was first elected.

"The political discourse of division and anger and polarization is something that I have struggled with over the past number of years and made the job less enjoyable."

As for the coming election, Woolley said he wanted to make his decision to bow out known at time time so that anyone thinking of stepping forward to run in Ward 8 will get a solid chance to prepare.

Council to look different after election

Council as a whole is on track for a significant renovation.

Although Ward 6 Coun. Jeff Davison announced Friday that he will run for re-election in Ward 6, there will be at least five new councillors around the table after this October's election.

Coun. Jeromy Farkas and Coun. Jyoti Gondek have announced they will be running for mayor so their seats will be up for grabs.

Like Woolley, Coun. Shane Keating will finish his term and not run in the upcoming election.

The seat for Ward 10 is currently vacant due to the retirement of Ray Jones last fall.

With at least that much change coming, Woolley has a wish for this fall.

"I hope that Calgarians in this coming election will be very, very thoughtful about the type of people that they elect and the type of politics that those people practice," he said.

Calgarians go to the polls on Oct. 18.

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