Terry Richardson is ‘the guy’ for Greater Napanee

With the municipal election still over a month away, the race for mayor is heating up in most municipalities — but not in Greater Napanee, where Terry Richardson has already been acclaimed.

Richardson, who has served as councillor for one term, says acclamation is “a very humbling experience.”

Terry Richardson was acclaimed in August as Greater Napanee’s next mayor. Photo submitted.

“When you win an election, that’s extremely humbling because now you’ve received at least one more vote than anyone that has run against you. So the [voters] put their faith in you. The acclamation is even more humbling because the community has looked at it and said, ‘You know what, we think you’re the guy’ … It’s humbling on steroids… and I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from it.”

Richardson, who was born and raised in Napanee, is a retired police officer. During his career, he performed a wide range of duties, from general patrol to undercover and investigative work. He considers himself fortunate, he says, “to have done a lot of things that certainly opened my eyes to the world.”

After retiring in 2016, Richardson took a few years off “to play a whole lot of hockey: at the rink six days a week in the wintertime and four days a week in summer.” Then in 2018 he decided to throw his hat in the ring for municipal council and was successful.

That council term was extremely satisfying for Richardson. He says, “There was a bunch of work that we were able to accomplish despite the COVID pandemic, which obviously was a challenge… [and] I just wanted to see a bunch of those things through… I hate leaving things undone, and I hate leaving things that may be cumbersome for other folks.”

Richardson put his name up for mayor on day one because, he says, “It’s best to be honest and forthright and say, ‘This is what I want to do at this point in my life.’” He is grateful that the acclamation has given him extra time to prepare: “So when December 6 rolls around, hopefully I can hit the road running.”

He says the one thing he will really miss, having been acclaimed this time, is door-knocking during the campaign. “It’s a really good way to get an idea of what the community wants and what [people have to say about] whether we’re a healthy community… I liked that part of it.”

As mayor, Richardson says he is committed to being accessible. “If somebody has made the effort to punch my phone number into their phone and call me, it’s important to them, and they want to talk to somebody. So I’m going to make myself extremely accessible.”

Richardson says policing has made him a stronger leader because he has learned to deal effectively with conflict. “You’re not going to be able to give everybody the answer that they want,” he says. “But what I think is important is that you’re honest, you’re forthright, you’re transparent in [your] answer. People understand if you explain… why things happen. You’re not ever going to make everybody happy, but I think the ones you don’t make happy respect the fact that you’re honest.”

Asked if he has a role model for his leadership, Richardson says his late father, who had been a police and corrections officer, was the kind of man he aspires to be. At his dad’s funeral, he says, a man approached him, shook his hand, and said, “I just want to let you know your dad was a good man. I spent 30 years with him at Millhaven.”

“You worked with him?” Terry asked.

The man, who turned out to be a former inmate, said, “I spent 30 years with him in Millhaven, and he always told me I’d get out of that godforsaken place before he did. And I did.”

“It’s those kinds of stories,” Richardson says, “that you wish you’d known sooner, that make you a better person.”

“What keeps me motivated is the fact that the electorate put faith in you, and the one thing you do not want to do is disappoint them. If you can’t get motivated by that, then you might be in the wrong profession.”

Leave a Reply

You cannot copy content from this page, please share the link instead!