Mayor Fred Eisenberger has ended speculation about his political future by announcing he will not seek re-election this fall. Eisenberger says that after three terms, the last two of which were consecutive, making him the longest-serving mayor post amalgamation, it is time to move on to the next chapter of his life. In an interview with CHML’s Bill Kelly, the mayor said he would be inclined to support Andrea Horwath should she choose to enter the race after stepping down as NDP leader.
Mayor Eisenberger issued the following statement:
“I have always done my best for the people of Hamilton, and as much as I have loved serving as your Mayor, doing my best now requires that I not put my name on the ballot in the 2022 municipal election.
“Pierre Trudeau famously made his decision during a walk in the snow. For me, it was a recent walk through my old neighbourhood in Amsterdam. On a purely personal level, I have come a long way, both literally and figuratively. I have enjoyed every step of the journey. But now is the time for the journey to go in another direction.
“The decision is similar to the thinking a professional athlete undergoes. Can I play another game? Another season? For me, the answer is clearly yes. As I am today, I am healthy and still have the energy and the drive. But closing in on age 70, will I still have the same energy and drive two or three years from now? I am not certain about that, but the people of Hamilton deserve that certainty. The people of Hamilton deserve one hundred percent all the time, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, and I don’t know any other way of doing it. The decision suddenly became easy.
“I do not have any retirement plans, but I am not going to retire in the traditional sense of the word. I am open to other opportunities. In the meantime, for the next five months I will continue doing what I have always done, which is to work hard and to give the people of Hamilton my all.
“It has been a privilege working with our professional City staff. The people of Hamilton are well served by them.
“As Mayor, I have learned to expect the unexpected. On my first day in office I had to contend with an extreme rainstorm which threatened to overwhelm our sewer system and flood much of the lower city. For the past two years I, like all of us, have been contending with a global pandemic.
“I hope I have moved the marker on several issues, such as downtown redevelopment, affordable housing, revitalizing waterfront, building our economy and public transit including the LRT, among many others. There have been contentious issues, but it is the nature of job, and you learn from them, you improve, and you achieve greater success.
“I arrived in Hamilton as an eight-year-old immigrant kid not speaking a word of English. I am forever thankful to the people of Hamilton for the honour and the privilege of serving them as their Mayor.”