Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner is known for his energy, activism and community involvement.
But the mayor of Illinois’ second-largest city said this week that he will have to scale back at least some of his many personal appearances and that he will not seek a re-election in 2017, in part because his fight with colon cancer, which had been in remission but has returned in recent years.
“My experiences with this issue over the past eight years have brought me to the conclusion that — even if I knew for certain that I would live for another 20 years or more — I would not seek a fourth term as mayor,” he wrote in a letter to friends and co-workers.
According to stories in The Beacon News, the Associated Press and other news sources, Weisner won’t seek a fourth term in 2017. He told Beacon-News reporter Steve Lord that he would continue to work energetically for the city of Aurora but would curtail his involvement in the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, Metro West and the Illinois Municipal League, as well as lobbying efforts in Springfield.
According to his bio on the city’s website, Weisner has served or is serving as chair of the Strategic Planning Committee at the Tollway and is founding chairman of the Northwest Water Planning Alliance, a collaborative planning organization involving municipalities and counties in a five-county area of the Chicago suburbs.
Weisner has been a public servant in Aurora since the 1980s, starting with the Emergency Services Department. Prior to joining city staff in 1986, Weisner and his wife, Marilyn, served in the Peace Corps, assisting rain forest dwellers in the highlands of Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands.
The Beacon-News article said Weisner was first treated for colon cancer in 2007. The disease went into remission but returned in 2008.
A year ago, Weisner shaved his head to raise money for two young students in dire need of medical care. Calling it the mayor’s “Shave for the Students” campaign, the shaving took place during a public event May 15, 2014. The young man was stricken with Crohn’s Disease, the young girl with Rett Syndrome.
“Our children mean a lot to me and to all of us. My goal is to make sure that these two families can be assisted in a meaningful and quick way and Aurora has always stepped up to help our kids in need,” Weisner said at that time.
Regarding his own battle with cancer, Weisner said that he has had eight years of treatment, which have been successful, and would continue to do so. He made the announcement, he said, in response to repeated questions about his health.