Lasseter to seek seat on county commission

DULUTH - Duluth's mayor has some ideas for Suwanee and Sugar Hill, so Shirley Lasseter is stepping aside from the city government to try her hand at county politics.

Lasseter, who has served as mayor for 14 years, told city officials this week she would not seek re-election in November.

Instead, she plans to qualify for the 2008 county commission race for District 1, intent on working with her northern neighbors to revitalize Peachtree Industrial Boulevard and Buford Highway.

"It's been like a love affair for 14 years; it's like family," she said of her city service. "I will truly miss all the things I do for the citizens, but I know that's just going to double when I get to the county. To me, that's a challenge."

Lasseter spent one of her triumphant days at the city's helm, at a topping off ceremony for a new city hall, talking to city employees and residents about leaving her post.

"I've accomplished most everything I wanted to do in the last 14 years, so I'll go to the county and see what I can do there," she said. "What I'm most proud of really is the attitude and the service the employees give to the citizens."

Duluth's downtown has seen a revival during Lasseter's tenure, with a new Town Green drawing shoppers and residents.

Lasseter said people have asked her about joining the county commission for eight years, but the time seemed right now. She said she expects the seat to be vacated, as Commissioner Lorraine Green is presumed to run for commission chair.

Green declined to announce her intentions. "She's never indicated she's unhappy with the service I provide. It's politics; you can't take any of these things personally," Green said of Lasseter's announcement. "She's served the citizens of Duluth for many years. I wish her luck in whatever the future holds for her."

For the district, which stretches from Duluth to parts of Sugar Hill, the Collins Hill area and part of Lilburn, Lasseter said she'd like to continue her work with building parks and help revitalize the area.

"I think the county can use some cohesiveness and I hope I can bring that," she said.

Duluth is the second Gwinnett city to learn its mayor is stepping down. Suwanee Mayor Nick Masino announced he wouldn't seek re-election when he was named economic development director of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce.