I was shocked to learn from this morning's Herald News that Fall River's mayor, Ed Lambert, held a late press conference last night to announce he would not be running for re-election in 2007.
Mayor Lambert said the decision wasn't based on another job opportunity, or the loss of his wife, just that this was the right time personally and professionally to step down.
Although the Mayor, like any incumbent, has his share of critics, I am not among them.
I think Ed Lambert has brought to his office and to this city a passion, and optimism that will not only be missed, but is still greatly needed.
In his 11 years as mayor I have not always agreed with every decision, with every plan, with every action. However I think Ed Lambert has honestly had the best intentions to do what he thought was right for the city and not just in the short term but for generations to come.
It has been said that his legacy will be the fight against LNG and the building of new schools but I think his legacy will be that he was a mayor who believed in Fall River and worked to build the foundation for its future.
During his administration new roads and schools have been built, water lines replaced and parks restored. Some will argue that Lambert had no choice that it had to be done, others will say he did too much too fast and has burdened the city with the debt of paying it off. The truth is the city's buildings and roads, parks, water lines had all been ignored for decades. It was this administration that moved forward to repair, replace, and maintain. Yes this costs money but the option is to pay now or pay even more later.
In the time that Ed Lambert has served as mayor he has accomplished much, yet there is still so much more that needs to be done. We can only hope that Fall River's next mayor brings the same passion and energy to the office. We can only hope that like Ed Lambert, the next mayor believes in the future of this city.
I wish Mayor Lambert the best of luck and success in whatever he decides to do after leaving office and can only wish that in 2007 his name was on the ballot.