Rob Saunders will not be running in the upcoming municipal election.
Saunders, who is currently serving as the mayor of Lloydminster, made his announcement during a press conference at City Hall on Wednesday morning, to a small audience in the rotunda outside the council chambers. During the address, he spoke about his passion for the community, and indicated that the decision to not seek re-election had not come lightly, becoming briefly emotional during the short address.
Speaking to the press after the conclusion of the announcement, Saunders said he hadn’t expected to do more than two or three terms in the city government since being elected to council back in 2003. He also said the decision to not run again will allow him more time with his family.
“Each and every time you make a personal commitment to run for public office, you usually consult with your family,” said Saunders.
“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 the responsibility, which allows us to do some more personal things, which you don’t have a lot of time for in public service.”
When asked about what highlights he had from his time in government, Saunders said he had enjoyed the cooperative work in the community, and the relationship-building with other municipalities near the Border City. He also was proud of the attraction of corporate capital to Lloydminster, which allowed the city to bring young families to the area, deeming it a “successful formula”.
“In order to attract families, we had to attract corporate capital, which creates job and opportunities,” said Saunders.
When asked about anything he wished could have gone differently, Saunders did not have specific examples, and mentioned that he as a mayor was only one person on council, and only able to deal with what is in front of him.
“Everyone looks back, but you can’t change the past, you always have to keep moving forward,” said Saunders.
“There’s always things that could have been changed or done differently, but you can’t live with regret, you have to move forward. Time doesn’t allow you to stand still and waffle on those things for too long. I can’t say that there is any one thing in particular.”
Saunders also declined to endorse any other candidates in the municipal race, citing a desire to be neutral.
“I think that would be unfair to the electorate and to the candidates that haven’t filed their papers,” said Saunders.
“I think we’ll see what the field looks like at that time. Personally, I want to play a neutral role. The people will vote, and usually those are personal decisions when somebody gets behind the box. I don’t take a lot of heed in making personal choices publicly, especially in the position of mayor at this time.”
As for what lies ahead for Saunders after leaving office, he said all his old oil and gas relationships were “all still there” but that he wasn’t rushing to any particular thing. As for any candidates he wishes to see enter the race, he indicated that members of the municipal government should have the community in mind.
“I just hear and see what everybody else has, and I think there is some good quality people that are putting their names forward, good community people,” said Saunders.
“That’s what we need; people that have the community and the city’s best interests at heart, not just personal agendas.”
Saunders will serve out the remainder of his term. A full list of confirmed candidates for the municipal election will be issued on September 22.