Suzanne Atwell announced today she will not seek a third term on the City Commission, removing at least one incumbent from next year’s race for two seats on the board.
Atwell said she made her decision very recently, attributing the move to frustration with the direction of city government. She highlighted two recent votes — the decision not to submit staff-recommended transportation policies to the state for review, and the rejection of a proposal to expand the Woman’s Exchange — as part of a concerning trend.
“Single issue activists kind of take over and become the self-appointed experts,” Atwell said.
Both of those decisions came down to a 3-2 vote, with Atwell and Commissioner Liz Alpert voting in the minority. Atwell acknowledged the possibility that a new commission might swing in a different direction, but she said there was also a chance she would not even win re-election if she ran again.
“That’s a burden I’m not sure I want to risk right now,” she said. “That’s casting your fate to the wind.”
Atwell, who served as mayor from 2011 to 2013, pledged to stay involve in city affairs — though she did not know what exactly that might entail.
“I need to put my knowledge, my experience and my political acumen toward something else now,” she said.
So far, two candidates have officially filed for the March 14 election to select representatives for two at-large commission seats. The other incumbent, Commissioner Susan Chapman, has not decided whether she will seek re-election.
Although Atwell took pride in her service on the commission, she said the decision to step away was not necessarily tough.
“I think it was fairly easy, because I think it was time,” Atwell said.