LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Mary Ellen Wiederwohl, one of Mayor Greg Fischer’s longest-serving top aides, has “several more chapters left to write in my professional career” after leaving Metro government next month, she said.
Is running for mayor in 2022 among them? Wiederwohl sidestepped that question on Friday.
“I am not ready to make commitments about what my future might hold,” she said in an interview with WDRB. “Anybody who has lived through 2020 knows making plans right now is a little scary to do because you don’t know what’s coming around the corner.”
Fischer said Friday that Wiederwohl, 46, plans to leave as chief of Louisville Forward, the city’s economic development agency, at the end of the year.
She joined Fischer’s administration in 2012 and became chief of the economic development agency two years later.
A Louisville native with two degrees from the University of Louisville, Wiederwohl worked as a lobbyist in Frankfort representing hundreds of businesses and associations before joining Metro government.
Wiederwohl has been rumored as a potential candidate to replace Fischer, who cannot seek a fourth term in office, in what could be a crowded Democratic primary in 2022.
.@KyDistillers Pres Eric Gregory just introduced @LouForward’s Mary Ellen Wiederwohl at inaugural Distilled Spirits Conference by floating that she might be called “mayor” in a few years. “quite an introduction,” she said pic.twitter.com/qRw4dpDWMp— Chris Otts (@christopherotts) February 18, 2020
She has no definite plans after leaving Metro government, she said Friday.
“For my entire career, which is now about 24 years long, I’ve gone from one thing to the next. And I’m going to gift myself a little time in between this time to rest, reflect (and) to recharge, and then figure out what that next challenge might be,” she said. “…Whatever I do next will probably have components of business, government and public policy, or some intersection of those things.”
Wiederwohl said she is proud to have helped “change the skyline” of Louisville through the completion of the Ohio River Bridges Project in 2016 and the $300 million Omni Hotel built in 2018, in part with city and state subsidies negotiated by Fischer’s administration.
She said Louisville Forward has had a hand in 300 business location or expansion projects since 2014, which have created “thousands of jobs.”
And Metro government has committed more than $50 million to affordable housing development in recent years, she said, but it needs to do more in that area.
“I think that’s going to be a major issue going forward for our city, and we’ve got a good base upon which to build,” she said.