Minneapolis City Council Member Andrew Johnson announced Thursday that he won't run for re-election, clearing the way for a new person to represent the city's southeastern neighborhoods in the coming years.

"When I first ran, I knew that this wouldn't be a forever thing," Johnson said in an interview Thursday morning. "I always have looked at public service as something that you do temporarily, at least that's my philosophy on it."

Johnson's announcement comes ahead of a local election cycle that is expected to be unusual. In a departure from the longstanding norms, the City Council will appear on the ballot in the fall of 2023, but the mayor will not.

More than a decade ago, state lawmakers enacted a new law that was designed to ensure that City Council members represent wards that have been adjusted to reflect the latest population shifts after new census data is released. To comply with that law, city officials pitched a scenario where council members would run for two-year terms in 2021 and 2023, then resume their normal four-year election cycle in 2025. That law does not apply to the mayor, who is elected citywide.

Johnson, 38, was first elected to the City Council in 2013 after leading the Longfellow Community Council and working in IT. His earlier years in office focused on issues such as ordinances providing paid sick and safe time for workers in the city and a study analyzing 911 call responses.

Recent years have been dominated by two issues: the coronavirus pandemic that strained city finances and exacerbated inequities in Minneapolis, and the calls to transform policing and public safety in response to George Floyd's murder. Johnson's colleagues on the council frequently tried to court him as a swing vote on controversial issues.

"That's another piece of my service that I'm really proud of is being able to be an independent voice on this body and make decisions very independently," Johnson said.

Johnson said he intends to fulfill the remainder of his current term, which runs through next year, and doesn't yet know what he will do after leaving office. He said he chose to announce now "because I'm a big believer in the democratic process" and wanted to give potential candidates plenty of time to ponder and prepare for a run.

Johnson represents the 12th Ward in southeastern Minneapolis, which includes the neighborhoods of Minnehaha, Hiawatha, Howe and Standish, among others.