SUMMERSIDE – One of Summerside’s most prolific city councillors is calling it quits.
Cory Thomas announced to city council Monday night that he will not be re-offering in the November municipal election.
Thomas cited family commitments for his decision to leave municipal politics.
“After a lot of reflection and discussion with my wife, I decided that what’s best for my children, right now, is to have their dad at home a little more than I am,” he said. “So, I will not be reoffering in the fall election.”
Thomas and his wife, My-Linh, have two children Dillon, 3, and Kayla, 6.
“My children are at the age where they’re starting to get involved in activities and I what to be more engaged and more involved in their activities,” Thomas said.
He said he wants to become more involved in home and school and his children’s sporting activities and other endeavours, things that take a back seat because of the time involved in being a city councillor.
“Being on council is a big commitment,” Thomas said. “I’ve always believed that you have to put your whole heart into something and I felt that the time was right for someone new to step forward in Wilmot to run for office.”
The commitment to the rigours of city council can be overwhelming. Thomas said that there are times when he could spend seven days a week just on city council issues.
“But, I’ve always had Sundays, regardless,” he said. “I would never do anything political on Sundays. That was my family day. Budget time is very busy. You‘re gone every night of the week. It was tough.”
“I knew this year during the budget process, and I hinted around to the deputy mayor, that when I‘d get home from work and had to sneak out, my little guy would be crying when I was leaving. That crushes your heart. I knew right then and there.”
Thomas said he knows others who would represent his ward of Wilmot well and different people have expressed interest to him in the past that they would like to run for city council.
Thomas said he will continue to work hard for his constituents for the next six months when his term expires.
The election isn’t until November but Thomas is the chairman of the city’s technical services committee and that group is entering its busy time of the year with construction getting underway.
“I made my announcement tonight for a couple of reasons,” he said. “Technical services, for the chair is so busy, that I thought it was best just to get this out of the way and concentrate on the work that needs to be done. There’s a lot of heavy lifting that still needs top be done with the Official Plan and a lot of public consultation that needs to take place.”
Thomas also felt it was important to give residents who may be considering running for city council time to think about it.
“It’s a big commitment,” he said. “They’ll need the summer to think about it.”
Thomas had some advice for whoever replaces him on council.
“Make sure you have all relevant materials before you go into anything,” he said. “If you have to vote against something because you don’t fell informed – do it. My other advice is that I hope they have thick skin because there will be a lot of battles here in city hall. You can’t take them personally but you have to fight hard if you want to get projects or initiatives through.”
His final advice was consult with the voters and have an open mind.
“It’s been an interesting and rewarding experience,” he said. “I certainly will miss representing the residents and miss being on council but my family comes first.”