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Suwanee's Brooks joins BOC

Gwinnett County Commissioner Jace Brooks is congratulated by his son Aidan, 11, and wife Kirste after being sworn into office by Gwinnett County Probate Judge Walter J. Clarke at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center in Lawrenceville on Monday.

Gwinnett County Commissioner Jace Brooks is congratulated by his son Aidan, 11, and wife Kirste after being sworn into office by Gwinnett County Probate Judge Walter J. Clarke at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center in Lawrenceville on Monday.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Suwanee's first resident to serve on the Gwinnett County Board of Commission since 2004 officially took office this week, and his addition brought relief to fellow commissioners and residents.

Jace Brooks was officially sworn in on Monday as a Gwinnett County Commissioner, and fellow commissioner Lynette Howard, who attended the ceremony, had two words of relief.

"Finally, five," said Howard, who represents District 2.

Brooks' official induction to the Commission means Gwinnett again has five commissioners who represent the entire county. As District 1 Commissioner, Brooks replaces Shirley Lasseter who resigned in June when she pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge.

Duluth, Suwanee and Sugar Hill make up District 1. Brooks is the first Suwanee resident to serve on the BOC since Wayne Hill eight years ago.

Brooks, a former Suwanee City Councilman for the last 10 years, was the only candidate to qualify for a November special election to fill the remaining months of Lasseter's term. He won a July primary that determined he would begin a four-year term in January, as he has no opposition in the general election.

In the primary, Brooks defeated Duluth resident Laurie McClain after he collected 54 percent of the vote. Brooks totaled 6,598 votes, while McClain had 5,614. Brooks' campaign raised about three times the money that McClain's did, and he collected endorsements from the mayors of Suwanee, Duluth and Sugar Hill.

Brooks attended his first Gwinnett Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday.

Howard said she attended Monday's ceremony to show Brooks support.

"He makes for more sound decisions in Gwinnett County, when you have five people making that decision instead of less than, and all parts of the county are represented," Howard said. "And District 1 has their own representative. It's good for the people in District 1 to have their own elected official."

Brooks said the commissioners would begin work on the budget in November.

"Now it's time to start doing what I talked about during the campaign," Brooks said. "The slow process of trying to rebuild the trust. That's really where it's got to start."

Beyond trust, Brooks said during the campaign that the next priority is to create an environment to attract new high-paying private sector jobs.

"While attracting new jobs is no "easy button," it will help heal a number of our ills by expanding the tax base, filling some of our empty houses and retail centers, and improving Gwinnett home values," Brooks said in August. "An expanding tax base and rising home values should ultimately lead to lower taxes for Gwinnett citizens and businesses."

Brooks thanked his family and other supporters who attended Monday's ceremony.

"A lot of people put a lot of hours and sweat and effort into making this day happen, so that was special," Brooks said.