GEARHART — Nearing the end of her first four-year term, Gearhart City Councilor Sue Lorain gathered enough signatures to qualify for a re-election bid in November.
“It feels like it takes two years to get up to speed,” she said. “Then you start participating. To me, a second term is important — to have the background, be more prepared and finish the things we started in the first term. It’s continuity.”
Lorain and her partner moved to Gearhart in 2004. A retired teacher — “I taught everything at some point,” she said — Lorain spent much of her career teaching fifth- and sixth-graders in Washington’s Highline School District.
Lorain serves on the Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce board and as vice-president of Seaside Scholarships, a nonprofit providing scholarships for local students.
Looking back on her four years as councilor, she singled out short-term rentals, legal actions at Neacoxie Creek Barn and the attempted mayoral recall of Mayor Dianne Widdop as key issues. “I didn’t see that coming,” Lorain said. “That was tough.”
Lorain said she objects to the personal tone injected into local politics. “What puzzles me is how issues don’t become about the community and what’s good for the community, but they become personal issues against certain individuals,” she said. “I’m running to make decisions for the good of the community, not for the good of an interest group, this person or that, or even where I stand personally. I think this council position is about doing what’s good for all of us in Gearhart.”
Lorain said the council’s short-term rental solution “meets extremes on both sides.”
As chairwoman of Gearhart’s Fire Hall Committee, she said she hopes to develop a community-involved campaign for the new building, designed to replace the firehouse on Pacific Way. A proposal could go before voters in 2017.
If re-elected, Lorain said she foresees a relatively calmer council interaction. “What’s cool about this group now is we can disagree on issues, but at the end of the meeting we can look at each other and say something funny and laugh, and be respectful of each other as human beings. That hasn’t always happened. I like the group I’m working with, even though we’re not always on the same page. We’re a good group, and diversified.”