O’FALLON, Ill. – Mayor Gary L. Graham has issued a statement to the O’Fallon community announcing his retirement from the Office of Mayor at the end of his term in April.
“I first ran for mayor because I knew what you knew – this is a special community that defines progress. We embrace our past and carry it forward to create new neighborhoods, centers of commerce and a launching pad to tomorrow for ourselves and our future generations,” the mayor said.
“As I presided over the City Council meeting for the 456th time on Nov. 7, I was overcome with gratitude. The City Council Chambers were overflowing with the youth of O’Fallon, their parents, and the O’Fallon Community,” he stated. “It was at this moment that I knew it was time to pass the torch of leadership. So, there is no better time for me to retire as your mayor than at the end of my term in April 2017.”
As recently as a few months ago, the mayor, then 71, told the Illinois Business Journal he was preparing to run one more time. Asked in May if he had one more term in him, he was clearly torn, responding, “I probably do. I shouldn’t … but I love the city.”
Graham arrived in O’Fallon in 1989. In 1993, he ran for school board and the following year ran for alderman. He served in both seats until Illinois law was changed and he was forced to choose only one — the council role. He was elected mayor in 1997.
“It’s been a labor of love,” Graham said in the May interview. “We’ve gone from 15,000 to 32,000 people (during the tenure). People don’t know it but we’re the fourth or fifth housing market in the whole St. Louis area. In the state of Illinois, percentage wise, we’ve been one of the fastest (growing).”
Read the mayor’s letter here.