DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – When Mayor Mike Rawlings leaves office in June, he will be the longest serving mayor in Dallas since R.L. Thornton in 1961.
Rawlings told CBS 11 anchor Russ McCaskey that he plans to work every last day he is on the job.
“The day after the new mayor is sworn in, you are at home, what are you doing?” Russ asked. “Well I probably going to work out a little bit. I’ve figured this out…” Rawlings said.
If you know the Dallas mayor, you know that he has a plan for everything.
The two-term mayor, who can’t run again due to term limits, plans to work every last second until a new mayor takes over.
“I’m going to run all the way to the finish line. That’s what you do,” he said.
As passionate as he is for the City of Dallas, he doesn’t see more politics in his future.
“I’m a business person. So I’ll stay in business. We’ll continue to help small and mid sized businesses grow. That’s my special gift and hopefully I can continue to contribute to the city in the future,” Rawlings said.
That means continuing to push his Grow South initiative for the rest of his term and beyond.
“I sure hope the next mayor is going to be focused on southern Dallas. The job is to be the tie-breaker. If there is any question, we need resources in southern Dallas as opposed to north Dallas,” he said.
Rawlings has some advice for the next mayor: have a thick skin and get ready for the most intense job of your life.
“Where ever you go. People are intense. They are mad at you or they want something or they are excited about something. They are selling you on something. So the intensity level all the time is at the highest level,” Rawlings said.
Rawlings said the biggest challenge of his eight years came the night five officers were shot at the end of a rally in downtown Dallas.
The violence broke out at the end of an already difficult day for him.
“We had buried my wife’s mom that day. And sat down watching a Rangers game with a tuna fish sandwich…” Rawlings said.
He quickly realized deadly attack was not just a Dallas issue but also a national one.
“So what does that mean for the country and how are we going to come together… and I realized Dallas need to be the shining example of how to be do that,” Rawlings said.
Rawlings joined with other city leaders and went to work.
He praised the police department and officers who worked tirelessly that week, and the faith based community that helped lift the city up in the time of crisis. It culminated in a way he could not have imagined when he first got that call.
“What started as a tragedy was a triumphant moment for Dallas, standing there with President Bush and President Obama singing Battle Hymn of the Republic. We were basically saying to evil we can overcome this, and that was a great moment for Dallas,” Rawlings said.
The new mayor will sworn in on June 17. After that, Rawlings plans to take the summer off, spend time with family and then get back to work in the private sector.