October 27 marks the day Mayor Don Atchison crossed into new territory; holding the title of Saskatoon’s longest-serving mayor at 12 years.
“I never thought I’d be a councillor or a mayor and now its 21 years later in total,” Atchison said Tuesday.
Atchison entered civic politics in 1994 to 2003 as Councillor for Ward 10 before entering his name into a populated mayor’s race with five candidates. Collecting over 24,000 votes Atchison thumped incumbent mayor Jim Maddin by more than 9,000 votes.
Four months into his first term as mayor, Atchison was quickly criticized when he required visitors to wear a tie when meeting in his office. Rick Mercer crowned Atchison as Canada’s Craziest Mayor in light of the policy that was quickly dropped.
Looking back, Atchison admits it’s been challenging running a fast-growing city adding there’s still a lot of growth ahead.
“Circle Drive South was 100 years in the making and it’s the best thing for a lot of people and now the Parkway-Commuter Bridge is next on the list and Traffic Bridge,” Atchison said.
In an attempt to shine a different light on Atchison, News Talk asked some more personal questions:
Tell us a little known fact about you:
“I was born and raised here, I lived in the United States for four years, played some professional hockey (Pittsburgh Penguins) down there and I think it helped in motivating us to make Saskatoon a great place to live.”
What’s your favourite kind of music?
“I like soft-listening music Andre Rieu.”
Who should we call for a reference for you?
“We get that on an almost a daily basis so call my mom or (my wife) Mardele. I don’t know what she’ll say but hopefully something good.”
What is your biggest strength?
“Listening to the public, but sometimes they’ll say you didn’t listen to me. But we hear what you’re saying and sometimes we don’t make the decision you want but we certainly mull it over and try and give the best effort.”
What about your greatest weakness?
“Trying to accommodate as many people as possible, sometimes your strength can become your weakness depending on how you look at it.”
It’s your day off and you can have anything you want dinner? What are you having?
“Well I’ll take Mardele out for supper and have a nice prime rib dinner.”
Tell us what inspires you?
“I look to the citizens of Saskatoon, there are different people that need different things, there’s our attainable housing program we did. I also look to a fellow like President (Ronald) Reagan, who went through difficult times in the U.S. and he was able to turn them around and I see Saskatoon as a great place to live and work.”
“I also admire our new visitors who become residents of our community, 20 people move to Saskatoon every day; 90,000 moved here in the last 15 years and 50,000 jobs were created in the last 10 years.”
How do you take your coffee?
“I’ve never had a cup of coffee in my life, nor tea. I have maybe the odd refreshment with a little sugar in it.”
“Watching television and getting on my tread-climber and just working out on that.”
Last book read?
“Killing President Reagan and there’s lots of other great books Bill O’Reilly has written and then you have all your council materials that we read through on a weekly basis.”
Favourite TV Show?
“A lot of sports, Mardele and I watch House of Cards together and the West Wing was another one that was really great show. I guess I’m a bit of a political junkie.”