AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Amarillo Mayor Paul Harpole said Tuesday morning he will not seek re-election after his fourth term in office expires in May.
Harpole's announcement, which effectively ends a decade-long service within city council, comes just a day before the filing period for mayor opens.
When talking about his high points in office, Harpole specifically cited the progress made in downtown Amarillo, ordinances like a ban on texting and driving, and the expansion of secondary education -- West Texas A&M University and Texas Texas University Health Sciences Center -- in the area.
Harpole is also currently the vice-chairman of the Amarillo Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone board as one of the city's representatives. Harpole has not said how today's decision affects that position.
He began his career in city politics in 2005 when he became a city commissioner. That lasted until 2007 when he declined to run again.
In 2011 he won an election against a record 10 opponents to begin his first term as mayor. He got a substantial 77 percent of the vote in that race.
When announcing his last campaign, he said retiring Mayor Debra McCartt left a stiletto shoe in the mayor's office with a message to him about filling her shoes.
Among the priorities for Harpole have been highway beautification, increasing the city's water rights, making Loop 335 a "real loop" and downtown development.
Though the official filing period for mayor begins Wednesday, two candidates – attorney Ginger Nelson businessman Jeremy Bryant -- have already announced their intent to run and have begun their campaigns.
Harpole said he was "encouraged" by the candidates who have already launched their campaigns, and said he hopes other qualified candidates step forward in the coming days. The filing period ends Feb. 17.