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Grams drops out of race for commission, endorses Hassell

LAWRENCEVILLE - Mark Grams bowed out of the District 1 commission race Monday, offering his support to former Suwanee Councilwoman Carol Hassell.

Grams, chairman of Gwinnett's airport authority, who ran the campaign of Commissioner Lorraine Green four years ago, said he didn't want the loaded ballot in July's Republican primary to distract voters.

"Four candidates running for the same district can detract from key issues and polarize the constituency. I have spoken with the other three candidates and have concluded that there is no need for a four-person race for county commissioner, District 1," Grams wrote in a press release.

While Green has announced she will seek the Republican nomination for the chairman's position, other candidates in the District 1 race include former Duluth Mayor Shirley Lasseter and Bruce LeVell, who serves on the MARTA board and the Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District board.

Grams, though, said he supports Hassell, an environmentalist who served on the City Council.

"My stance on issues such as transportation, water, illegal immigration and public safety are similar to Carol's. I have talked to many residents who agree that the time has come for fresh ideas in our county government, and I believe positive change is on the way," Grams said. "Carol Hassell's candidacy embodies the leadership, experience, and new ideas that our county needs. I have no reservations in offering her my full support in the District 1 race."