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Hassell enters District 1 race

LAWRENCEVILLE - A former Suwanee councilwoman became the fourth candidate Thursday in the upcoming race for the District 1 county commission seat.

Carol Hassell, an environmentalist who has set policies to keep Gwinnett green, announced she would also seek the Republican nomination for the commission seat, currently held by Lorraine Green. Green plans to leave office to run for county chairman.

"I feel like we're at a kind of turning point, a crossroads, in our district," said Hassell, who served on the City Council from 2000 to 2004 and now serves on the Suwanee Urban Revitalization Authority, on the county's Development Advisory Committee and as chairwoman of the Gwinnett County Tree Advisory Committee.

Hassell said she believes her experience with the city and through those organizations have qualified her for the job of representing the district, which includes Duluth, Suwanee and portions of Norcross.

"The county faces serious challenges, and we need someone with both fresh ideas and real leadership experience in this office," Hassell said. "With voters' support, I will dedicate all available resources to getting our community back on track and heading in the right direction."

Other announced candidates for the July 15 Republican primary for the district are former Duluth Mayor Shirley Lasseter, Bruce LeVell, who serves on the Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District board and the MARTA board, and community activist Mark Grams.

Hassell, who is the co-founder of the Gwinnett Open Land Trust, said her experience with environmental issues would help her with decisions such as water quality and quantity issues. But she said she does not consider herself a pro-growth or an anti-growth candidate.

"I've tried to think about what's best for our community and what ensures our economic viability," she said.

SideBar: The Hassell File

Carol Hassell

· Age: 64

· Residence: Suwanee

· Occupation: Vice president of administration for the Georgia Wildlife Federation

· Education: Attended the University of Pittsburgh

· Family: Husband Powell, stepdaughter and son-in-law Steven and Debbie Lucas and two granddaughters

· Political experience: Suwanee City Council member from 2000 to 2004, former chairwoman of Suwanee Planning Commission, current member of Suwanee Urban Revitalization Authority, member of Gwinnett Development Advisory Committee, chairwoman of the Gwinnett County Tree Advisory Committee