Ithaca Mayor Carolyn Peterson announced Tuesday that she will not seek a third term in November.
“Making this decision has not been an easy one,” Peterson said in a statement. “In a time of the greatest economic stress the country, state and city have seen in many decades, I prefer to concentrate on city business rather than take time to campaign.”
Peterson is in the last year of her second four-year term as the city’s mayor. Although former Ithaca mayors only served for eight years, many residents had encouraged her to run for a third term, Peterson said in the statement.
She added that not running for reelection would allow her to attend to personal matters, which “have required increased attention” recently.
City Councilmember Eddie Rooker ’09 (D—4th Ward) thanked Peterson for the “good job” she has done for the city.
Rooker said that serving as mayor “is not easy, so it’s good that she’s done two terms.”
During her tenure as mayor, Peterson was named to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Local Governmental Advisory Committee, which Rooker called “huge.”
“It puts Ithaca on the map and at the forefront of pushing green and environmental issues forward,” Rooker said of Peteron’s involvement in the EPA committee.
Peterson has worked on several construction projects in her time as a city official, including the Cayuga Waterfront Trail, the Cayuga Green apartment development and neighborhood development in Ithaca’s Southwest, according to The Ithaca Journal.
Peterson was also the first female mayor of Ithaca, according to The Journal.
Peterson faced criticism last year in the aftermath of the Shawn Greenwood shooting. After the house of Greenwood’s shooter, Ithaca Police Sgt. Bryan Bangs, was torched, members of the Ithaca Police Department claimed Peterson failed to support the officer, The Sun reported in August.
However, Peterson was also blamed by members of Ithaca’s black community for not adequately supporting Greenwood’s family, The Journal reported.
Rooker said he was not sure who would fill Peterson’s place, but that “it’ll be interesting to see who decides to run.”
“I have enjoyed serving in public office, especially as mayor, which has required more than full- time hours, thousands of meetings, many decisions and daily concern for the well-being of our city,” Peterson said. “I will certainly miss that service.”