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Hilscher to be newest City Council member

SUWANEE -- A special election to fill Suwanee's vacant city council seat won't be needed after all.

Suwanee small business attorney Beth Hilscher was the only candidate to qualify for the post, said Elvira Rogers, administrative services director. Qualifying began on Monday, and closed at noon on Wednesday. Rogers said the city's charter states that if only one candidate qualifies, an election is not needed.

The seat came open last month when Jace Brooks, who had served as a councilman for about 10 years, resigned to run for the District 1 seat of the Gwinnett County Board of Commission.

Hilscher is slated to be the first woman to serve on the council since Jeannine Rispin in 2009. Hilscher said she would be sworn in during the July 24th City Council meeting.

Mayor Jimmy Burnette said Hilscher has a vested interest in the city because she lives there and owns property on Main Street.

"I think she's going to be a benefit to the city," Burnette said.

Hilscher continues a trend of fresh faces on the council. After Burnette, who has served on the council since 1996, the next longest-tenured councilman is Mayor Pro Tem Dan Foster, who has served since 2006.

"We all share a lot of the same interests as far as quality of life," Burnette said.

Hilscher is vice chair of the Downtown Development Authority, and was active in the city's 20/20 vision discussions.

Hilscher has said that the timing to run for city council fits with her family, as she has children who are 15 and 11. And Hilscher was surprised that she was the only candidate to qualify.

"I was fully prepared to run a strong campaign, and was truly humbled by the outpouring of support since making my announcement," she said. "I am thrilled to move forward and start working."

Hilscher lives in the Ruby Forest subdivision, and said she hasn't previously held public office.