With his wife and daughter sitting quietly next to him in a gesture of moral support, Mayor Glenn Hagel announced his 24-year political career would come to an end after the Oct. 24 civic election.
“I believe being elected mayor is the greatest honour I could receive from the people of Moose Jaw, and for that I am deeply thankful,” Hagel told media during his retirement announcement at city hall on Wednesday. “For me personally, I cannot think of a better way to conclude my political career.”
According to the mayor, his decision to not run in the upcoming municipal election is largely due to family reasons, and a desire to spend more time with his wife, children and grandchildren.
“When you go into politics, so does your family,” he said. “I’m very, very pleased to say that for me, each time that I’ve put my name forward for nomination to an election, it has been with the full support of my family.
“So obviously with the fall election approaching, this has been a topic of discussion in our home with our family once again. We’ve thought long and hard, and I have to admit the family tug has been stronger than it ever has been before.
“So therefore, together with my family, I’ve come to the decision that it is time to retire.”
The 62-year-old mayor said his wife is retired and he has two adult daughters, as well as one grandchild and another one on the way. He would like to spend more time with them.
Hagel said since becoming mayor he has had the privilege of working on a city council that has aimed to provide Moose Jaw with the tools to set its own future, rather than merely reacting to circumstance.
“For me, the highlights of this term are three documents that city council passed,” he said, adding the city’s first official community plan, strategic plan and economic development plan would be key pieces to the city’s success into the future.
“When people go to the polls, they expect their council to lead the city into the future, and to shape the community as best they can, consistent with the values of people.”
While Hagel said there are elements for the past three years for which he is proud, there are also projects he wishes he could have helped move along further during his time as the city’s top politician.
For example, he said it would have been nice to see the Regina-Moose Jaw Industrial Corridor move ahead to a greater extent during his time as mayor.
“It’s a work in progress that requires co-operation particularly from the provincial government,” he said, adding he would also have liked Moose Jaw to be more proactive in its economic development planning, so as to attract more investment into the community.
However, when asked if he is quitting politics too soon considering there are agendas he helped initiate that are still in the works, Hagel said the nature of politics is that one never really reaches some elusive stage of completion, and there is always more work to do in government.
“Change never conveniently happens in a nice, neat order where everything gets done at the same time.”
Prior to winning the mayoral seat in 2009, Hagel was elected Moose Jaw North MLA from 1986 to 2007, serving one term as Speaker of the House and six years in cabinet.
He said his time as speaker, as well as heading Saskatchewan’s centennial celebrations in 2005, highlighted his provincial political career.
“I love this province. This is a province with soul.”
The mayor said he would have to get used to life outside politics, but fortunately he has a good disposition for adjusting well to change.
However, he said politics has afforded him the opportunity to meat some interesting, stimulating people over the years, and he will miss those opportunities.
Once his term at city hall concludes, Hagel said he would still remain active in the community in a non-political capacity with such things as his volunteerism. He said retirement would no doubt keep him busy with friends, family, house renovations, as well as one of his other interests in life — canine training.
“My dog Marco and I, well maybe we’ll get out to all the agility classes instead of half of them.”