Regional chair Ken Seiling will not run in 2018 municipal election
Seiling has served as regional chair since 1985
Ken Seiling will not be running in this fall's municipal election.
He's been the regional council chair since 1985 when he was first elected by members of council.
"Personally, I would have liked to stay for another four years, but then, I've had 33 years in the postilion, and I think it's time for other people to come along and step in, and I'm comfortable with my decision," he said following the regional council meeting Wednesday night, which is when he made the announcement he would not seek reelection.
Asked to reflect on his lengthy time as chair, Seiling said the region's growth management strategy is among the most important because it protected greenspaces and farm fields as well as directed the municipalities in the region to build in the urban cores.
"I think we've done great things in child care. When we took over the responsibility for housing — you can never build enough social housing or supportive housing — but we've worked hard, harder than most other communities," he added.
He pointed to building a regional museum and the light rail transit project as other highlights.
"There's all sorts of things that we've done during my time that were very important to me," he said, adding the region is a place where "my children and my grandchildren want to live in."
After Seiling made the announcement, Waterloo Regional Police Chief Bryan Larkin tweeted his thanks on behalf of the force.
"You have played a major role in advancing our service," Larkin said. "Special thanks to the Seiling family for sharing Ken."
A leader, a mentor, a friend. After 33 years as Chair of <a href="https://twitter.com/RegionWaterloo?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RegionWaterloo</a>, and 42 years of elected public service, an emotional <a href="https://twitter.com/KenSeiling?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KenSeiling</a> announces he's hanging up his political skates and won't be running this Fall. Thank you Ken for your service to the people of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WRAwesome?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WRAwesome</a>! <a href="https://t.co/YKhCjFyf1E">pic.twitter.com/YKhCjFyf1E</a>—@berryonline
Colin Best, a councillor in Milton, tweeted that it had been an honour to serve with Seiling on the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.
Time to step aside
Seiling, who was born and raised in Elmira, where he still lives, was first elected a Woolwich councillor in 1976. He was elected Woolwich mayor in 1978 and acclaimed as mayor again in 1980, 1982 and 1985.
As Woolwich mayor, he sat on regional council. He was elected chair of regional council in 1985 by his fellow members of council. They elected him to the post again in 1991 and 1994.
But the true test came in 1997 when his name was first put on the general election ballot. He won that year and again in 2000, 2003, 2006, 2010 and 2014.
He made the announcement that he will not run for re-election Wednesday night at the regional council meeting, with his family in the audience.
In offering advice to the person who would follow in his footsteps, Seiling said they'd need, "Patience, a good ear, I think a sense of where the community's at, understanding where this community has come from and where it wants to go," he said. "Just being open and showing people that you care about them."