Time has slowed down for Martha Webster.
Retiring from politics can do that for a person. The 68-year-old Webster served on the village council for five years. She ran for mayor this year, along with two other women — Felicia Matula and Laurel Bennett — but lost to incumbent Matty Mattioli, finishing third.
Webster made a brief run for the District 6 seat on the Palm Beach County Commission that will be vacated by term-limited Jess Santamaria. But she dropped out and endorsed Kathy Foster, the former Wellington mayor who was soundly defeated by Melissa McKinlay in the August primary.
Webster, however, is still keeping her pinkie toe in the political waters.
Question: It’s been six months since you ran for mayor. What have you been up to since then?
Martha Webster: I’ve been working on some campaigns and trying to work with others (including Republican candidate Andy Schaller for the District 6 commission seat). I know how hard it is to be a candidate out there. It can be a lonely place. I’m trying to help good people get into office. I’m also rediscovering my family and my home.
Q: What lesson did you learn from your run for mayor?
A: I felt it was a good race for me. I was happy with my campaign. The lesson learned from that election is the same thing we’re learning from all of our elections — we just don’t have a big turnout. When you don’t have a big turnout, the outcome is controlled by the special interests.
Q: Would you run for mayor again?
A: I’m enjoying retirement a lot, but I would never rule anything out.
Q: Talk about some of the biggest issues the village faces.
A: One of their biggest issues is the financing of our park structure. We have a lot of parks and I still ask, “Are they effective and efficient?” You can see that Commons Park is costing a lot, with the village having to add more people to run it. And I still think our canals are a resource and the village still seems to want to play around with the top of the surface and not look at the fact that nothing has ever been done about the bottom of the canals.
Q: You served on the council for five years. What was your biggest accomplishment?
A: I initiated the conversation to get a full-time representative on the Metropolitan Planning Organization, because we always rotated a position with Greenacres. I always felt like when it came to road representation, the western communities needed another vote, another voice. Now they added Royal Palm Beach as a permanent full-time member. That came about because I started the conversation.
Q: Do you think there’s still a glass ceiling for women in politics and corporate America?
A: Take a look at our council. I think a picture is worth a thousand words. Absolutely, but it depends on the municipality. It’s true for Royal Palm Beach and the mindset of the individuals here.