ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Architect by day, Albuquerque city councilor by night. Isaac Benton has spent the last 17 years serving Downtown, Old Town, and the entire valley east of the river. It was a career path he never expected to go down.

“A group of people asked me if I would consider running,” he laughed.

Elected in October of 2005, Benton is now considered the third longest-running city councilor in Albuquerque history. He spent his time focusing on improving public transit, lowering speed limits in downtown neighborhoods, revitalizing downtown, and adding more housing in his district.

Benton was a cosponsor for the workforce housing ordinance that created a permanent trust fund within the city to fund housing construction. He also played a part in the Inaugurated Development Ordinance.

“Land use, planning, and reform were two big areas of interest of mine.”

Historic preservation was another focus and accomplishment for Benton, redeveloping the famous El Vado Motel on Central and behind the city buying the historical Rail Yards in 2007.

“I’m happy to see it moving forward. I think it’s an exciting addition to the site that we have the Rail Yards Market there now.”

While he hoped to see the Downtown grow three times the size it is now, he’s still seen progress.

“I feel cautiously optimistic about Downtown, having lived nearby for so many years. I have seen it having its ups and downs, kind of like a curve of ups and downs.”

After four and a half terms served, Benton is calling it quits. He will not be running again for a seat in chambers at the end of the year. Instead, he said it’s time to spend his evenings with the family.

“You get used to being in the middle of the fray,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll miss certain aspects, but at the same time, I feel like I have accomplished a lot.”

While it’s bittersweet, he believes the city is ready for a new generation of leaders.

Benton will be sticking around the area and will plan on staying active within the community.

“It’s a great place to live, and I’ll always be interested in its improvement and well-being.”

He stated housing and police reform are two things the city needs to keep pushing on.