Vet­eran city coun­cil­lor Keat­ing says he won’t be seek­ing re-elec­tion in 2021

Calgary Herald - - CITY+REGION - MADE­LINE SMITH ma­smith@post­media.com twit­ter.com/mek­smith

Coun. Shane Keat­ing will be leav­ing his Ward 12 seat open next year.

In a state­ment Mon­day, Keat­ing said af­ter three terms in of­fice, he won’t run for re-elec­tion in 2021. The news comes af­ter last week’s vote to ap­prove the Green Line LRT project, which Keat­ing has cham­pi­oned through­out his time on coun­cil.

“I feel that the torch should be picked up by some­one else,” he said.

He’ll keep rep­re­sent­ing Ward 12 for the re­main­der of his term.

Keat­ing, a for­mer teacher and school prin­ci­pal, was first elected in 2010, beat­ing four other can­di­dates to re­place Ric Mciver, who un­suc­cess­fully ran for mayor that year.

Get­ting LRT ser­vice to Keat­ing ’s south­east ward was a pri­or­ity dur­ing that elec­tion, and 10 years later, his city col­leagues praised his ef­forts to make the Green Line a re­al­ity. Last week, a nearly unan­i­mous vote gave the go-ahead to be­gin build­ing the first stage of the

LRT ex­pan­sion next year, run­ning from Shep­ard to 16th Av­enue N.

“The big­gest thanks here go to Shane Keat­ing,” Mayor Na­heed Nen­shi said dur­ing that coun­cil meet­ing. “Shane has made (the

Green Line) his heart and soul since the mo­ment he was elected.”

Nen­shi and Coun. Gian-carlo Carra, who were both elected at the same time as Keat­ing, also ex­pressed their ap­pre­ci­a­tion on Twit­ter Mon­day, with Carra ap­plaud­ing Keat­ing’s “im­pact­ful pub­lic ser­vice.”

Keat­ing said while he thinks three terms is “the right num­ber to serve,” he also feels the need to fo­cus on his fam­ily since his wife was di­ag­nosed with cancer last year, and he’s been sup­port­ing her through chemo­ther­apy and ra­di­a­tion.

“I need and want to de­vote more time that has been lost dur­ing my ca­reers to the im­por­tant fac­tors in my life.”

In an in­ter­view, he said he hopes his an­nounce­ment more than a year be­fore the next elec­tion can help give others time to se­ri­ously con­sider run­ning in his ward.

But Keat­ing added that he wor­ries about the fu­ture of mu­nic­i­pal pol­i­tics, which he said has be­come “neg­a­tive and ac­cu­sa­tional and, in some cases, void of truth.”

He said he’s been dis­mayed to see other or­ga­ni­za­tions, or even other coun­cil­lors, spread mis­in­for­ma­tion.

“When a coun­cil mem­ber puts out tainted in­for­ma­tion, then other peo­ple ac­tu­ally see it ... they be­lieve it first off,” he said. “It’s fan­ning the flames. It allows for the neg­a­tiv­ity and that style of pol­i­tics.”

Coun­cil votes should be about the topic rather than an un­mov­able set of be­liefs, he said. And that’s some­thing he said he prides him­self on, call­ing him­self “an elected of­fi­cial, not a politi­cian.”

“In other cities, you ac­tu­ally see for­mal­ized po­lit­i­cal par­ties, or some­thing like the mayor’s party and those who are against the mayor,” he said.

“It shouldn’t be that way. The vote should be so di­verse that they should be go­ing topic by topic.”

The next mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion is set for Oct. 18, 2021. With Keat­ing ’s de­par­ture in Ward 12, there will be at least two open races.

Ward 10’s Ray Jones said when he was re-elected in 2017 that this term would be his last. Jones was first elected in 1993 and is Cal­gary’s long­est-serv­ing coun­cil­lor.

DEAN PILLING

Ward 12 Coun. Shane Keat­ing will serve out the re­main­der of his term but will not seek re-elec­tion next year.

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