Everson breaks Republican mold in Gwinnett

Melvin Everson already had friends before he entered the "greatest fraternity" in the state.

At Wednesday's swearing-in ceremony, it was an opportunity for some of them to pat each other on the back.

After all, Republicans have a reputation as a crowd of white, upper-class men. But the GOP in Gwinnett has been breaking that mold for years.

All the women in Gwinnett's legislative delegation are Republican, with the exception of Gloria Butler, who actually lives in DeKalb, and the only Hispanic Republican in state office is from Lilburn.

After years in Snellville politics, Everson, a black man, described himself as a new voice for the party.

He was the GOP's favorite son, even copping contributions from House Speaker Glenn Richardson.

On Wednesday, Richardson congratulated Everson on the "big" 27-vote win a week ago.

After last year's 54-vote defeat, though, the Snellville man made a big comeback.

"Melvin, your tireless work, perseverance, your integrity came through," Richardson said. "On Jan. 9 of next year, I expect you to be here focused on a goal."

The politicians said that diversity is important in the GOP's ambitions to reach out to voters across racial lines.

"We will be a better caucus and we will be a better House because Melvin Everson has joined our body," said Rep. Jerry Keen, the House majority leader.

Saturday in the park

Mike Beaudreau is taking it to the people.

The District 3 commissioner has held Saturday office hours once a month to try to reach out to constituents.

But this week, he doesn't want the people to come to him. He's going to the people.

From 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Beaudreau will hold his session at Ronald Reagan Park in Lawrenceville.

"I've had open-house, Saturday morning hours at my office every month since I started on the Board of Commissioners in January, and during this beautiful October weather, I decided to go outside this time," Beaudreau said.

The commissioner said he welcomes discussions of any concerns residents may have, and will be happy to talk with everyone who drops by on a first-come, first-served basis. District 3 covers the eastern part of the county from the Highway 78 corridor north to I-85, and includes the cities of Snellville, Loganville, Grayson, Dacula and Auburn.

Ronald Reagan Park, one of Gwinnett's new community parks, features a 2-acre fenced area for off-leash dogs. Other amenities include chess, checkers, bocce ball and shuffleboard along with a playground, picnic areas, a three-quarter-mile hiking trail, two half basketball courts and a small skate area.

The park is located on Five Forks Trickum Road near its intersection with Ronald Reagan Parkway.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com .