Goodbye, farewell and amen

By Alderman Wayne Rothe
She was in, then she was out, then she was back in. However, it’s now official – Ald. Louise Baxter is retiring after 16 years of elected service. I’m sure it’s not been an easy decision.

I want to wish Louise well in the next chapter of her life, which will include more time with family. While we’ve sometimes disagreed on issues, Louise has been a respected colleague and a good friend.

Louise ran for the first time 16 years ago on a development-related issue. I don’t think anyone should ever run on a single issue but Louise has not been a one-issue alderman.

Yes, alderman. I remember when Louise advanced the idea of changing the title to councillor. We chose to retain the title, which is not intended to be gender-specific at all but has historical roots back in England. Years later in a television interview on this topic Louise defended the title.

In a July 21, 2017, Grove Examiner interview Louise said that she no longer feels effective. I think it’s natural once you’ve decided that your career is over to lose some passion but I have no doubt that if Louise was running again she would be engaged and effective.

In that interview Louise cited two things that stand out as accomplishments: Jubilee Park and the BPAC (Border Paving Athletic Centre) occupied by the Aerials Gymnastics Club and city recreation staff. Both facilities are highly used.

Louise and I have recently discussed the development of Jubilee Park and we agree that we have to be cautious about putting more active features into a park that was originally intended as a passive park.

She’s joked about it but I believe that being the only woman on council for the last 16 years has been fun for Louise. That distinction has been a topic of light-heartedly banter with her male colleagues over the years. I know that Louise would like at least one woman to be elected Oct. 16, and I agree, and she’s been advising a couple of the female candidates. There are a couple of really good women on the ballot so please give them your consideration.

I’m sure that Louise will miss many things about municipal politics. I know I will when my time is up. I just hope it’s not the morning of Oct. 19. 🙂

Farewell, Louise, it’s been good. You mention in your Examiner interview wanting to consider some volunteer opportunities. I have an idea in that regard.

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