Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis will not seek re-election this fall
Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis will not seek re-election.
Francis tells CTV News he will not run in the 2014 municipal election this fall. Francis made an official announcement Friday at a news conference at city hall.
"We're in a right position; it's the right time,” says Francis. “This was not an easy decision. But this was the right decision."
Francis was first elected to office at the age of 25. Now turning 40, and after one term as councillor and three consecutive terms as mayor ... Francis says he's ready to step down and move into private life.
"For me to leave on top is very important, but I work very hard to be put in that position," says Francis.
Under his tenure, the city saw a new arena in the WFCU Centre get built, the aquatic centre, and several key infrastructure projects, including roads and sewers. Francis fought the province on the idea of expanding Highway 401, which assisted in the development of the Herb Gray Parkway. Francis also fought CUPE on a city-wide strike, which halted garbage collection for 101-days.
Francis says his darkest hour came with the death of Const. John Atkinson on May 5, 2006.
"That's going to be a day that will forever carry with me,” says Francis. “That is the most difficult day in office."
Over the past couple of days, Francis spoke with his staff and members of city council. Would be investors also received a phone call from Francis.
"In 30 years, I've met a lot of politicians, leaders, and a person like Eddie Francis, in politics, comes around once in a lifetime," says his assistant Nora Coleman.
The mayor says he hopes to stay close to his successor, whoever that may be, to help transition council past the next election.
Francis’s decision to not seek re-election will now open the floodgates to several candidates, who may have otherwise not have run. Francis named dropped both Ward 8 councillor Bill Marra and Ward 1’s Drew Dilkins as potential candidates to fill his seat.
"We turned the city around, and we took the city to a new level. And I hope that future councils and future mayors will continue the path," he said.
As for future prospects, Francis says he has nothing lined up, but will pursue something in the private sector. When it came to his future in politics, Francis played coy, saying for the time being he’s not interested. However, Francis said he wouldn’t rule anything out.
"I'm not going to rule it out. But right now, I think most people recognize that the timing for me, and giving everything I've got, I'm going to hopefully go to the private sector," he says.
Until then Francis says council has a busy year ahead of them. His tenure as mayor ends Dec. 1.