NEENAH, Wis. (WFRV)- Neenah’s Mayor Dean Kaufert will not be running for a third term in the spring.

Surrounded by his friends, family and colleagues, Kaufert made the announcement in the lobby of City Hall. He is a lifelong resident of the Neenah-Menasha area and attended Neenah High School. He has been married to his wife Renee for 41 years.

“It’s now time to stop and to smell the roses,” says Kaufert.

Todd Stevenson is Neenah’s City Council President and has been friends with Mayor Kaufert since high school. When Kaufert first ran for state legislature in the early ’90s, Stevenson helped out on his campaign.

“His passion and sincerity when he says he’s going to do something he’s going to do it,” says Stevenson.

For the last 7.5 years, Kaufert has been the Mayor of Neenah. He was first elected in April 2014 as the 42nd Mayor of the city of Neenah.

Before that, he was a state representative for the 55th Assembly District from 1991 until 2014. He started his political career as an alderman for the city of Neenah in 1985. He has been a public servant for over 37 years.

“I never loved the politics, I liked helping people,” says Kaufert.

“His willingness to listen to people, he really is a consensus-building mayor,” says Stevenson.

Kaufert says a big reason why he chose to retire and not seek re-election was so that he’d have more time to spend with his family.

“I have given you all that I have got and it’s been a great run and I have no regrets,” says Kaufert.

Mayor Kaufert listed keeping ThedaCare in Neenah and the Loop the Lake Trail Project as two of the accomplishments he’s most proud of during his time as Mayor. His current term will end in the spring.

Kaufert ran for office 17 times between the city of Neenah and the Wisconsin state legislature and never lost.

State senator Roger Roth released this statement on Kaufert’s announcement:

“Mayor Dean Kaufert has been a partner and friend and leaves an incredible legacy to the City of Neenah. His steady hand has guided the city to responsible and measured growth in his eight years as mayor. The effects of the many transformational projects completed under his watch will benefit the city for years to come. I wish him well in his future endeavors and well deserved retirement from public service.