Chicago Mayor Richard Daley announced Tuesday that he would not seek a seventh term in office.
"The truth is I have been thinking about this for the past several months," Daley said at a City Hall news conference Tuesday afternoon. "In the end this is a personal decision, no more, no less."
The mayor's wife, Maggie, has been battling cancer for years, and many suspect her ailing health led to the mayor's decision. Maggie was in attendance at the announcement. She smiled when he informed the media of his plans not to run.
"I've done my all," Daley, 68, said. "I've done my best. Now, I'm ready with my family to begin the new phase of our lives."
Daley was poised to enter his seventh term as mayor, and the opposition field was not shaping up as a strong one. That could change now that Daley won't stand in their way.
14th Ward Alderman Ed Burke was nearly toungue-tied when he heard the news.
"Wow," was all he said.
Daley first won election in 1989, and was the second longest serving mayor in Chicago, eclipsed only by his father.
Mayor Daley's pre-written remarks:
I am here today to say what I hope you already know: I love Chicago. I love the I-Will spirit of the place. Most of all, I love the people.
Throughout this great city, in every neighborhood, on every block, there are people who give unselfishly, unbending in their determination, bold in the belief that they can make a difference.
And they have.
Together, as a city, we have moved past our differences to reach real progress.
We are Chicago. In my view, the greatest city on earth.
For 38 years, I have been a public servant, for the last 21 years as mayor.
From the beginning, I've been guided by one belief: that everyday I could do better for the people of Chicago.
I have always known that people want you to work hard for them. Clearly, they don't always agree with you. Obviously, they don't like it when you make a mistake. But at all times, they expect you to lead, to make difficult decisions, rooted in what's right for them.
For 21 years, that's what I've tried to do.
But today I am announcing that I will not seek a 7th term as Mayor of the City of Chicago.
Simply put, its time.
Time for me. And time for Chicago to move on.
Improving Chicago has been the ongoing work of my life. And I have loved it.
There has been no greater privilege or honor than serving as your mayor.
Working alongside seasoned professionals, incredibly committed business and community leaders and some of the most dedicated public employees you will ever meet, I have had the opportunity to expand, build, create, unite and compromise for the betterment of Chicago.
And I am deeply grateful to the people of the great city, more grateful than i can fully express.
I've given it my all. I've done my best.
Now, I'm ready with my family to begin the next phase of our lives.
In the coming days, I know there will be some reflecting on my time as mayor. many of you will serach to find what's behind my decision.
I have always believed that every person, especially public officials, must understand when it is time to move on. For me, that time is now.
The truth is that I've been thinking about this for the last several months.
And in the last several weeks, I've been increasingly comfortable with my decision.
It just feels right.
In closing, I want to thank my family for their ongoing love and support. Without, I could not have done this.
Ang again, to the thousands of Chicagoans who have worked side-by-side with me everyday to confront our challenges, to improve the lives of people and make this city stronger, I thank you.
I could not have done it without you.
In the end, this is a personal decision. No more.
For the next 7 months, I assure you that I will work as hard as I have for the past 21 years for all the people of Chicago.