Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen couldn’t run for re-election this year because of term limits, but the longtime staple of local government is leaving the door open for some kind of return to political office.
“I get this (question) a lot,” Hafen told members of the Henderson Chamber of Commerce at its networking breakfast this morning. “‘What are you going to do next? Is there going to be any more political office for you?’ Here’s where I’ll leave that: I have been brought up and raised to be a public servant, so whatever our residents want, I’ll be there.”
But he quickly added, “I’m not going to take the first step.”
Hafen was the featured speaker at the chamber’s monthly networking breakfast, where he was presented with the Spirit of Henderson Award. The event is expected to be his last public speaking appearance as mayor.
Councilwoman Debra March will be sworn in as his successor at a special council meeting on Tuesday. March was elected to office in April after securing 55 percent of the vote during the primary election.
A fifth-generation Nevadan, Hafen was first elected to the Henderson City Council in 1987. He represented Ward 2 until 2009, before successfully running for mayor. (Nevada voters established term limits for state and local elected officials in 1994 and 1996 ballot questions.)
Hafen spent most of his speech reflecting on his time as an elected official and how the city has evolved over the past three decades.
In 1987, Henderson had 215 miles of paved road and 147 miles of dirt roads. It now has 854 miles of paved roads and only 8.5 miles of dirt roads. In that same time span, the population skyrocketed from 48,660 to about 305,000. Henderson is now the second-largest city in the state.
“One of the biggest accomplishments that I can stand here and say I’m extremely proud of is to grow as big as we did, as fast as we did and as orderly as we did,” said Hafen, adding that the praise belongs to the city employees working behind the scenes.
Although he left open the possibility of a future run for public office, Hafen also expressed excitement about retirement and having more time to spend on his family ranch and with his 13 grandchildren.
“Just imagine Mayor Hafen on a backhoe,” he said with a laugh.