Mayor Holder says 'health impacts' influenced decision to not seek re-election

Mayor Ed Holder will not be seeking re-election this fall and will retire from politics.

His decision whether or not to seek another term changed during a month-long recovering from a medical procedure.

“I had intentions to run, and then when your health gets impacted you start to say, ‘Can I be the person Londoners need?’” he told CTV News.

In a press release which announced Holder’s upcoming retirement, he said the decision was also influenced by discussion and personal reflection with his family.

“I’ve simply reached a point in my life where I’d like to devote more time to other pursuits and at a more relaxed pace... In the meantime, there’s still much important work to accomplish between now and the election. I remain fully committed to my responsibilities, and duties,” he said.

In July 2018, Holder jumped into the mayoral race with barely a hundred days to go, but the former federal MP and cabinet minister won with 58.8 per cent of the first choice votes.

“There is a lot of work involved,” explained Dr. Jacquetta Newman, a political scientist at Kings University College.

Newman said the rigours of political office can be significant, “We still have this idea that it’s a part time thing, it’s something you do after you retire, but it’s really not. It’s full-time. It’s a lot of work.”

Holder’s term in the mayor’s office has been punctuated by several challenges including the BRT route compromise, the COVID-19 pandemic and his commitment to build 3,000 affordable housing units in five years.

Holder became London’s 64th mayor on December 1, 2018. Prior to that, he had served as MP for London West from 2008 to 2015 and was also the federal minister of science and technology.

Fulfilling his affordable housing commitment will be a task left to his successor, though he points out municipal policies and agreements with senior governments are in place.

“This is so dramatic and so important that there is no way that it cannot happen,” Holder said.

Holder remains committed to leading council during his final five months in office, and said he will be looking for new ways to contribute to London after his term is over.

“I just hope that Londoners will look back and say, ‘Not only did he do his best, but what he did was positive for this city,’” Holder said.

“The opportunity to serve as mayor has truly been the honour of a lifetime... As I prepare to enjoy life beyond politics, I take great pride in this council’s accomplishments,” Holder added in his press release. “Together, we have made historic investments in support of our most vulnerable, along with transformative changes to London’s transit system.”

Holder’s last day in office will be November 14, and Londoners will elect a new mayor and council on October 24.

— With files from CTV News London’s Kristylee Varley