Edmonton Ward 10 city councillor Michael Walters has announced he is not seeking re-election.
“It’s been an honour to work with many of the people in south Edmonton and to serve them,” he said of his constituents while appearing on the Ryan Jespersen Show on 630 CHED Wednesday morning.
“These are some of the greatest communities in Edmonton and it has been an honour to represent them.“
The popular councillor said he will also not being making a run for the mayor’s seat.
“I did give that serious consideration,” Walters said of running for mayor. “But ultimately, the decision to do that’s not really aligned with the kind of life that I want to have with my family.”
The two-term councillor was first elected to Edmonton City Council in 2013 and was re-elected in 2017. Prior to his election, he spent 20 years working as a community organizer and policy leader.
He received the Queen’s Jubilee medal in 2000 for his work at Edmonton’s Bissell Centre, was chosen as one of Edmonton’s Top 40 under 40 by Avenue Magazine in 2009 and was named one of Alberta’s Next 10 Most Influential Leaders by Alberta Venture magazine in 2013.
“This isn’t the end of my political story,” he said.
“I still plan to be engaged in the upcoming municipal election by supporting candidates, particularly candidates that will make city council more diverse, which is very important to me. And we’ll be engaged in, hopefully, a much more positive provincial conversation about what this province can be.“
Walters pointed to a number of reasons for his decision, including spending more time with his family, but said one of them is the limitations being part of the municipal government brings when it comes to issues like homelessness, poverty, smarter growth and climate policy.
He also suggested the relationship between municipalities and the provincial government affected his decision.
“There’s always been a degree of adversarial relationship with the provincial governments,” he said.
“I think certain governments make it more severe than others. And I think this is a time where, you know, municipal leaders don’t necessarily feel very empowered.
“There’s certain forces that may want us to be on the mat, but … we can’t stand for that. We have to, you know, stand up for our place in this province as important stewards of the communities where people actually live and love to live.“
In a tweet, Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson thanked Walters for his “service and his friendship.”
While texting into the Ryan Jespersen Show, former city councillor and Liberal MP Amarjeet Sohi said: “I wish my friend Michael Walters all the best. He has served our city honorably.“
The next Edmonton municipal election is in 2021.