Leaders mingle at Gwinnett Chamber event

SUWANEE -- Jimmy Burnette sipped wine as he glad-handed some of Gwinnett's biggest leaders less than two weeks before voters will decide if he becomes Suwanee's mayor.

Gwinnett County Administrator Glenn Stephens snacked on crab rangoons as he discussed government happenings, and much of Gwinnett's school board sat together as they talked politics and personal matters as the sun set over one of Gwinnett's most prestigious golf courses.

That was the scene set at The River Club, during the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce's fourth annual key leadership reception.

"It's good to see people and refresh relationships," Duluth Mayor Nancy Harris said of the event, which allowed her to network with legislators she will meet with in the coming months.

While in a posh setting, the event serves as a casual get-together to leaders in government and business, said Chamber President Jim Maran.

"It's a very simple, non-political event," Maran said, noting all the politicians in the venue. "It's to get to know everybody."

Among the mayors and councilmen, school board members and legislators were public and private sector executives making connections.

While the upcoming city elections and education sales tax vote were on many minds, others talked about the next year of elections. Snellville Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer, who will leave office when a new mayor is elected next month, talked about pursuing a race for county commission next year, and attorney Michael Sullivan predicted a big victory in 2012 for the proposed transportation sales tax.

Gwinnett Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said everyone she spoke to had a different issue on their minds.

"It's important to hear what folks have on their mind," Nash said, adding that she believes it is her role to represent the county commission at Chamber and other community events. "Plus, it's kind of nice to catch up."