Longtime mayor won't re-offer

·3 min read

Ann Seamans will not re-offer for mayor of Riverview in this May’s municipal election.

"It is with mixed emotions that I have decided not to re offer," Seamans stated in a Facebook post on Wednesday. "This past year has been a very long 'walk in the snow' for me, and I have decided that it is the right time to move on.

Seamans told the Times & Transcript she was fully prepared to re-offer last year, when the elections initially would have been held, but now the timing felt right to move on.

“2020 has been very difficult,” she said, noting that council had to re-look at everything they had budgeted for when the pandemic hit and expected revenue wasn’t coming in.

But many of the projects she had hoped to see become reality have now come to fruition, she said, pointing to Light up Riverview – which sees thousands of Christmas lights light the riverfront's trees – or forming the committee that saw Riverview take on building a recreation complex.

Originally from Miramichi, she has called RIverview home for most of her adult life. When she started on council 23 years ago, Seamans said she never imagined she’d still be here all these years later. She was a single mom working in real estate and the timing had just felt right to take on a challenge she thought she'd love, she said.

She recalled a day back when Bruce Fitch, now the Riverview MLA, was mayor. Council drove to Fredericton to lobby for a new Gunningsville Bridge, she said. Now she can see the growth that bridge has brought to the community.

People who have been away from Riverview and come back can see how much it has changed, she said.

The new year brought its own trauma, she said, unrelated to the pandemic, when there was a shooting incident outside Riverview High.

As mayor, Seamans said she always wanted to be there to offer support whenever she could, but those were certainly “events I’d never want to live through again.”

But beyond the heartbreaking times, there was plenty of warmth and lightness too, she said.

Riverview teen Becca Schofield, whose #Beccatoldmeto random acts of kindness movement spread round the world as she battled brain cancer, stands out to Seamans as something that put the town on the map in a beautiful way.

Seamans was Riverview’s first woman mayor, but “it wasn’t that I wanted to be the first woman mayor, it’s just that I felt I had the experience.”

“It is harder being a woman mayor,” she said, while noting a mix of women and men on council is best, and the office should always go to the best person for the job.

Seamans has four granddaughters, all born during her time on council, and she said she's glad to think they can look up to their grandmother with pride.

While Seamans made it clear she was leaving politics, but will still be calling Riverview home.

Next up is retirement, with more time for herself and her family.

Still, “I’ll miss lots of parts of being mayor,” she said, from council meetings to working with staff and working with other mayors.

“All along, so many people would come up to me and say nice things,” she said, adding that she certainly received more kind words than not. As the news spread Wednesday, she began to receive more tributes.

"Mayor Seamans has been an incredible mentor to me since the beginning of my career," Riverview's Deputy Mayor Andrew LeBlanc told the Times & Transcript.

He said her team-building skills were second to none and her recognition that councillors don't always have to agree allowed council to thrive. While she never backs down from a problem that needs solving, she is also always approachable, he said.

Seaman's own message to Riverview residents is simply, “Thank you. I loved being your mayor.”

Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal