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Happy Retirement Mayor Spearman

 

Come election night, Mayor Chris Spearman will be anxiously awaiting the poll results – in Airdrie. His daughter is taking her first run at public office as a member of Airdrie City Council and as he begins his retirement, he is excited about the possibility of passing the torch.

"I will be spending Monday with my daughter promoting her campaign," says Spearman. "This is something she really wanted to do and I'm excited to support her. I'll be out these on the side of the road with my sign encouraging people to vote."

After eight years as Mayor, Spearman admits it's a bit strange to be on the outside looking in on an election but is wholeheartedly excited about next phase of his life.

"When I was first elected as Mayor, it was a complete career shift for me. I went from the business world to public service. I feel like that's what I'll be doing in this next chapter. I don't think I'll be watching council decisions and writing letters to the editor," he adds with a grin. "I'm ready to let go of politics and focus on something new."

With a home in the mountains awaiting his permanent arrival, fresh air, hiking, skiing and of course his family will fill the days, months and years to come.  

"You have to give a lot of energy to this job. I probably put 12 years of work into my eight years of service and I wanted to do that. I wanted to give everything I had. But when it was time to decide if I would run again, I couldn't see keeping up that pace for another four years."

There's a long list of council accomplishments in Spearman's years in office including the construction of ATB Centre, the Downtown Park 'n Ride Transit Terminal, Bunka Visitor Centre at Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, attracting Cavendish Farms to Lethbridge, twinning Whoop-Up Drive, building Metis Trail, introducing curbside recycling and acquiring the Lethbridge Airport. Phew! But when asked what he is most proud of, Spearman doesn't hesitate.

"I am really proud of how far we have come with Truth and Reconciliation. Council's decision to create and fund the Reconciliation Lethbridge Advisory Committee was a huge step forward. Things like adopting OKI as the official greeting for the City of Lethbridge, the permanent Blackfoot flag raising at City Hall and now the MOU we've signed with the Blood Tribe are really positive."

He's also noticed how others in the community are embracing the move towards Truth and Reconciliation seeing more initiatives at the College, University, Public Library and Galt Museum, just to name a few. He cherishes the relationships he has built within the Indigenous community and hopes they will continue on past his political career and into his retirement years.

So, if on Monday night, a new member of the Spearman family wins a seat at a City Council table, what will his fatherly advice be?

"Fight for what you believe in but also understand that you can't win every battle. Don't take those defeats personally because you have to be able to go home and sleep at night. I understand the pressures of this job so if she does get this chance, I am here to be that sounding board for her."

So, after eight years, which is 96 months, 417 weeks, 2922 days and a whopping 70,128 hours of public service to the City of Lethbridge - thank you Mayor Spearman and happy retirement.