A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Florence Mayor Diane Whalen decides she won’t seek re-election; after 24 years she is ready for family time

By Judy Clabes
NKyTribune editor

Florence Mayor Diane Whalen really does have a full, rich personal life — and she is ready to get on with it, which is why she will not seek another term for the office.

Twenty-four years is long enough, she says, as she has reached “Social Security” age and wants to spend quality time with her loved ones.

Mayor Whalen

Whalen is a fixture in Florence — or an icon or a legend-in-the-making. Now, with her husband retired for a year and grandbabies coming along, she’s ready to become a fixture at home too.

Spending time with her family and her friends and traveling define her agenda in 2023.

As the daughter of former Florence Mayor Hop Ewing, Whalen has a long and deep connection with the city. She has experienced its growing pains, celebrated its successes, lamented the pressures of COVID, managed it in a fiscally-responsible and enviable way, and truly loves her job, the “great people” she works with, and the city she serves.

It’s just time for the “what’s next” in her life that doesn’t involve having Florence on her mind 24/7.

For her, the “business (of the city) is never finished” — “There is so much to do, you can’t wait for the next thing,” it just comes. And she’s not going anywhere until 2023. The election is in November this year — and there’s plenty to do in the meantime. There’s the Mall and Marydale — big looming issues moving slowly along. She means to stay busy until the end.

Dr. Julie Aubuchon

Meanwhile, Florence’s vice mayor, Julie Metzger Aubuchon, has already officially filed to run for Mayor. Other candidates may emerge since the filing deadline has been extended to January 25.

Dr. Aubuchon is a doctor of Optometry, a native of Florence, and has served on the city council of Florence since 1999 — that’s 12 terms. She too follows in her father’s footsteps. Her dad, Dr. Ferd Metzger, was a Florence Council member. She and her husband, Pat, have a son, Brady. She owns and operates a Florence business that employs 12 people.

She has been named an Outstanding Woman of NKY and one of the nation’s TOP 40 Women in Optical and was the Kentucky Optometric Association’s Cliff Leadingham Award winner in 2020 for lifetime contributions to her profession.

“I’ve watched the City of Florence change and evolve into a regional leader for opportunity,” Aubuchon said. “I know that I have the skills in business and leadership that will benefit the residents.”

Aubuchon sees a bright future for the city.

“My plan is to continue our city on a path that has made Florence a hub of business and commerce that is recognized as a tremendous place to live, work, and visit.”

See this NKyTribune feature on Mayor Diane Whalen

Related Posts

Leave a Comment