Announcement on 2021 Election
To My Constituents,
I have made the decision not to run in the municipal election this fall. I am immensely grateful that you gave me the opportunity to serve as your representative and voice at City Hall. It is the honour, privilege and experience of my life.
It seems so long ago now that I asked you to take a gamble on me. In 2013, I was a 32-old-year unknown who believed in a better Calgary. My team and I knocked on tens of thousands of doors, from Mission to Wildwood, and worked to earn your trust. I had a vision for the downtown, Beltline, and inner-city neighbourhoods in which I have lived my entire life. It was time to embrace currents of change. And we had to do it without sacrificing what we value most: community, safety, creativity, common sense, and prudence.
At City Hall, my initial learning curve was steep. But over the past seven years we accomplished more than I thought possible. Indeed, during my two terms as Councillor, I became the opposite of what I first expected: I am less cynical about the potential of politics. I am more hopeful for how public service can help build our city. And I believe, more than ever, in the impact citizens can make by showing up and doing the work.
In that spirit, we replaced aging infrastructure with new parks. We invested in roads, sidewalks and pipes. We protected our crucial heritage assets and community spaces. We are adapting nimbly to seismic global shifts in technology, in the workplace, and perhaps most of all, in how we grow and get around our city. Calgary is at the forefront of changes that will unfold, through perseverance, over decades.
We also faced a significant, and ongoing, structural shift in our economy. At City Council, we are implementing an economic diversification strategy. It focuses on new and better jobs through this transition. We are delivering this in spite of successive provincial governments failing to understand, or respond to, the needs of this city. Energy will remain a pillar of our economy for years to come but we need to pivot quickly to those sectors that will drive our future success.
The City of Calgary’s Audit Committee will continue to deliver financial and corporate oversight through a rational and distinctly non-partisan lens. As chair of this committee for the past six years, I learned that this is where much of the real sweat of governance gets spent – and rewarded – in the long term. We will need such cooler heads to prevail in future in order to steward our city through the challenging years ahead.
My decision to step back from public life has not come easily. I was raised with the spirit and hope of politics being woven into my daily life. From an early age at the dinner table, I learned the enormous value of public service and hard work. I dreamt of the chance to take on elected office, where I could put my ideas and my belief in the power of change to the test. When I was elected, the politics of hope and courage were at the fore, and my work as Councillor has been tremendously rewarding.
But you may not know that, in the course of a year during my second term, I lost my brother to a fentanyl overdose, my mom to brain cancer; and my incredible son Markus was born in between. There were many hours to reflect on my life, and my family, and there was a lot more at the dinner table than talk of politics. We are, each one of us, afforded only one life, and I want to live mine to its fullest.
Now I am keen to return to the private sector, to further hone the leadership skills I have developed in office and gain new experiences. I will continue to build my hometown, as a citizen, as a community member, and as a voice among many compelled to make our politics better.
Calgary is an outstanding place with a bright future, if we choose it. The public servants at the City of Calgary deliver an extraordinary level of service to our citizens at very low cost. We remain on a solid financial footing—better than almost any other government in the country. We should be proud of this legacy and of our quality of life. And we should defend it, all of us, when called upon.
I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for giving me the greatest opportunity of my life. It has been an honour to serve you. There is still much work to do in the months ahead, and I intend to do it with the same grit and courage I hope I have shown thus far.
Categories: Councillor, Ward Office, Ward update