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Welter won't seek re-election

"Walking a mile in the Mayor's shoes can be a long trudge some days."

Those are the words of Afton Mayor Julia Welter, who announced she would not be seeking re-election this November.

She made her initial announcement at 10 a.m. Feb. 26, and later spoke in more detail to the Woodbury Bulletin about her decision, which will see her leaving office after serving one term.

"Afton has had a reputation for many years for being contentious, and I thought I could bring some resolution to the situation," said Welter, "but it will have to be someone else."

She has led the city council through a turbulent year, in which seven lawsuits were filed against the city.

Welter, a resident of Afton for 12 years, had no previous experience in local government and began her term as Mayor of Afton in January 2007.

"It's been a huge learning experience, not just in terms of the issues facing Afton and the region, but in terms of self-growth," she added.

"You look at the world a little bit differently when you are involved in politics. It brings out the best and worst in people," she said.

Welter's announcement came just a few weeks after the resignation of the city's former administrator, Shelly Strauss. At Strauss's last Afton City Council meeting, she paid tribute to Welter.

"I would like to thank Mayor Julia Welter for your on-going support and working in the trenches together," she said. "I don't think people realize that the weight of the city falls on the shoulders of the mayor, especially in a city as divided as Afton."