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Sierra Club endorses Green, Hassell, Beaudreau

The Greater Gwinnett Group of the Sierra Club has announced its picks for the county's leaders.

In the July 15 Republican primary, the group supports District 1 Commissioner Lorraine Green for the top spot of chairman, over incumbent Charles Bannister.

The group also endorses former Suwanee Councilwoman Carol Hassell for the District 1 slot to replace Green and incumbent Mike Beaudreau to regain his District 3 seat.

The picks aren't surprising, as Green is an environmental engineers, Hassell has worked on land conservation issues in the county for years and Beaudreau has established himself a slow-growth candidate.

Beaudreau was endorsed by the group previously.

"We were pleased that the majority of the candidates responded to our endorsement questionnaire, which indicates the growing awareness of the need to address environmental challenges in Gwinnett County," said Tamyra Hyatt, Gwinnett Group political chair. "We want to stress to Sierra Club members and the Gwinnett community the importance of voting and to please consider a candidate's environmental commitment and record when voting."

All three candidates said they were glad to gain the group's support.

"I'm honored by and grateful for the Greater Gwinnett Group of the Sierra Club's endorsement," Hassell said. "I will continue to work to preserve green space in Gwinnett, which helps to moderate growth, and I fully intend to protect our communities by supporting revitalization - including transit alternatives and protecting green space as essential components."

State House Rep. Bobby Reese got an endorsement from the National Federation of Independent Business, the state's largest small business association.

Reese is challenged by David Hancock in the Republican primary for the District 98 seat.

"Rep. Reese has been a strong supporter of Georgia's entrepreneurs and small, family-owned businesses," said David Raynor, state director of NFIB/Georgia. "Rep. Reese clearly understands that state government has no business interfering with the benefits a company offers its employees. Time and again, he has shown his support of small business, and the National Federation of Independent Business is urging its members in Rep. Reese's district to support him in his race for re-election."

Raynor said he was especially thankful for Reese's work to defeat legislation that would have required employers to grant an additional 24 hours of paid or unpaid leave to workers, regardless of the number of employees a company has or the burden it would place on that business.

"NFIB's support means a lot to me," Reese said. "I promise I will continue to support Georgia's small businesses."

Rountree says he wasn't involved in feud

Political consultant Mark Rountree took umbrage with Chairman Charles Bannister's recent statements about the feud between himself and Sheriff Butch Conway, most recently over an underfunded drug education program for fifth-graders.

Bannister called the fight "political theater" intended to help his primary opponent Lorraine Green, whom Conway supports.

But Rountree, the political consultant for both Green and Conway, said he was flabbergasted that Bannister claimed he could have been involved in the issue.

"I have never spoken to Conway about any of this. Ever. Nor Green. Ever. Didn't even know it was coming," Rountree wrote in an e-mail. "It is wacky conspiracy theory talk. And conspiracy theory talk comes at the end of campaigns when candidates have no record to run on."

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.