Wood Buffalo Mayor Melissa Blake won’t run for re-election

Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Mayor Melissa Blake speaks during a press conference at Fire Hall 5 as residents re-enter fire-ravaged Fort McMurray, Alta., on Wednesday, June 1, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Codie McLachlan

Melissa Blake, the mayor of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo – which includes the city of Fort McMurray – will not be running for re-election next year.

After nearly two decades in local politics, Blake said Wednesday it’s highly unlikely she will run in the municipal election, set for Oct. 16, 2017.

Blake said her decision was not based on the Fort McMurray wildfire, which forced the evacuation of 80,000 people in a single afternoon, destroyed 2,400 structures and is the costliest insured disaster in Canadian history.

“I’d love to tell you I’m undecided but I’m not,” she told reporters on Wednesday. “I pretty much know my outcome.”

“It has nothing to do with what the circumstances have been. It has been an honour and privilege to serve this region, especially during this difficult time. The harder things are, the prouder I am of this region that I represent,” Blake said. “But it’s highly unlikely you’ll see my name on the next ballot.”

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READ MORE: ‘No decisions have been made’: Mayor Melissa Blake on rebuilding hard-hit Fort McMurray neighbourhoods

Blake was first elected mayor in 2004, and most recently was re-elected to her fourth term as mayor in the municipal election of October 2013, with over two-thirds of the vote. She previously spent two terms as a councillor.

Blake lives in Fort McMurray with her husband and two sons. She has a Bachelor of Administration degree from Athabasca University.

She did not elaborate on the reason for her decision.

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