Coun. Stephen Montague (Richmond) will not run for mayor in the 2014 Brandon municipal election.
There has been much speculation in the community that the 33-year-old councillor would be seeking the mayor’s chair. However, Montague has decided now is not the time.
"It’s the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make," he said. "It’s something that I looked at and said, ‘what is in the best interest of my professional career, my personal life and my political career?’ You have to balance those."
Montague said he put a lot of thought into the decision and had "extensive discussion" with his family.
"I looked at it and said, with only being 33, politics isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon," he said. "I need to focus on some other things as well, and that doesn’t mean that I don’t believe Brandon deserves better leadership than it’s getting now, because I think it does."
Montague said while he won’t run this year, he has every intention of running for mayor in the future.
"I love this city, I make no bones about that," he said. "I also don’t hide the fact that one day I do want to be mayor of Brandon. I said that when I was 12, I say that now that I’m 33. It’s something that I do want to pursue, but timing is everything sometimes."
Montague hasn’t decided if he will seek re-election on Brandon City Council. His day job is financial services manager at Four Seasons Sales in Virden, and said working full-time and being a councillor can be a challenge.
"The time obligations that you put in for councillor, if you want to be an effective councillor, are great," he said. "You balance that with a full-time career, it’s difficult. I’m a single-income household paying the bills by myself, so I also need to look at that. I also need to balance that with my personal life … and there’s more to life than just working."
Montague said he will be making the decision in the coming months.
"I love being on council, I love helping the people of this city. That is something I’ll never lose," he said.
Montague said he is looking forward to see who will seek the mayor’s chair.
"With all the talk about who’s running and not running for mayor, now that (my) decision has been made, it’s important to put that out there," he said. "Hopefully that means it can help some others make their decision."
Brandon Sun managing editor James O’Connor, who has been writing in his Saturday Editor’s Notebook column about the potential of Montague running for mayor, said he was shocked when he learned of the councillor’s decision yesterday.
"I know Stephen has been seriously thinking about his political future for some time and that included a possible run for Brandon mayor," O’Connor said.
"But he is very tuned in politically and realizes he has a long life ahead of him and he doesn’t need to take any unnecessary chances at this point in his career. I do hope he runs again for Richmond Ward councillor as he has proven over time to be a voice of reason on council."
O’Connor noted in his column last Saturday thatBrandon East NDP MLA Drew Caldwell is currently deciding whether 2014 is the right time to run for mayor —something he has always thought about doing.
Several political insiders have indicated results of an exclusive Brandon Sun/Probe Research poll expected at the end of the month asking respondents who they would vote for from a list of seven names will result in some movement by potential candidates.
Calls are being made this week by Probe to homes in Brandon asking who they would most likely vote for from a list of seven supplied names.
Montague is on that list.