Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan, who has served on the City Council since 2001, will not seek re-election in November.
Beehan said he has been considering whether to run “for some time,” and he announced his decision to not seek re-election on Wednesday. Before making the decision, Beehan said, he wanted to be sure that quality candidates with a vision for the city’s future were ready to run.
“It’s clear that there are candidates who have the vision and ability to serve the community on City Council,” Beehan said in a press release. “I have enjoyed serving Oak Ridge as mayor and as a City Council member, but I think it is time for new leadership to take a fresh look at moving Oak Ridge forward.”
Beehan said he has spent 20 years as an elected official in local government in Oak Ridge and in Covington, Kentucky—before his family moved to Oak Ridge.
“I consider this a retirement from public service as an elected official, but I plan to continue to be engaged in community activities,” Beehan said.
He has served on Oak Ridge City Council since 2001, with six years as mayor pro tem, which is similar to a vice mayor, and seven years as mayor. In Oak Ridge, the mayor and mayor pro tem are appointed every two years after each municipal election.
“I’m very hopeful for the future of Oak Ridge,” Beehan said. “It is a small city with many attributes that’s on the verge of accomplishing great things. If the community continues to move forward on economic development, great schools, safe neighborhoods, and improved housing, I believe the future is very bright.”
Beehan said he is comfortable passing the baton on to the next generation of leadership.
“With all that’s happening here, I think Oak Ridge has the ability to attract more entrepreneurs and small businesses,” the mayor said.
“And I hope that Oak Ridge will become a center in the rebirth of American manufacturing, with new jobs created as entrepreneurs imagine new products to make.”
He said Oak Ridge is fortunate to have “an excellent city manager in Mark Watson and a very professional and talented city staff. I encourage new City Council members to work closely with them and rely on their expertise in going forward.”
Beehan said he will continue to work in the residential and commercial real estate business with Betsy Coleman Realty, and he plans to continue his involvement in the community. He will also enjoy playing banjo and guitar with the Ridge City Ramblers.
“It’s been an honor to serve this community that I love,” Beehan said. “I have had the opportunity to serve with and to meet many wonderful people during my term of service. I have had many different experiences: I’ve been president of Tennessee Municipal League, chair of the Energy Communities Alliance. I have visited the White House and testified before Congress. Not many mayors of cities of 30,000 get to do those things. That’s why it has been special serving in Oak Ridge.”
Earlier this week, Mayor Pro Tem Jane Miller also announced that she will not seek re-election in November. But two other incumbents whose terms expire in November, Anne Garcia Garland and David Mosby, are seeking re-election to the seven-member City Council this fall. The qualifying deadline for those who want to be candidates in November is noon Thursday.