SUWANEE -- When Jace Brooks was elected to the Suwanee City Council, Town Center was still part of a master plan on paper, not a place where city officials work and public meetings are held.
But that's what Brooks calls his most proud accomplishment of the decade he has served on the council. Brooks, the second-longest tenured council member, resigned this past week to qualify to run for the Gwinnett County Commission seat in District 1.
"I am often overwhelmed with pride and excitement when I drive by the park and see it being used by so many people," Brooks said in an email. "We wanted to create a gathering place. A place where neighbors could eat together, and play together, and spend time with one another. A place that created a sense of place for Suwanee."
Attorney Beth Hilscher, who represents small businesses and has an office in Old Town, has announced she will run for the open seat. City officials have unofficially pegged qualifying for the open seat to be in late June, and a special election will be held on July 31.
Brooks, a financial advisor with Community Wealth Management, also pointed to Suwanee being a "leader in this region, a success story" because of its fiscal responsibility of lowering taxes and how the city's credit rating was raised last year from AA- to AA+.
Brooks said serving on the County Commission would be similar to the city council, but the issues would be more complex. "My goal is to bring the same type of conservative principles and solutions that have been successful in Suwanee to the ounty level," he said. "I believe we need this type of conservative leadership at the county level."
Brooks said he hopes his replacement on the council has been active in helping the city, and was involved in the 20/20 strategic plan project.
Laurie McClain is also running for the District 1 seat. McClain is a certified public accountant with an office in Suwanee. She participated on the citizens' review panel for the Gwinnett commissioners' 2012 budget process and was on the Engage Gwinnett Committee.
Hilscher is vice chair of the Downtown Development Authority, and was active in the 20/20 vision discussions.
She said the timing to run for city council fits with her family, as she has children who are 15 and 11.
Hilscher lives in the Ruby Forest subdivision, and said she hasn't previously held public office. She said having a business in Old Town and being a female bring different perspectives.
"I am very committed to the city; I'm not going anywhere," said Hilscher, who recently completed the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Gwinnett program. "I have a vested interest to make sure it continues. I think the current council has done a good job, and previous councils have done a good job. I would be honored to serve."