With the July 31 election just three months away, Tracey Mason Blasi is kicking her bid for Gwinnett Superior Court judge into high gear.
She put her hat in the ring for one salient reason: As a long-time public servant with more than 20 years of experience in the legal field, she wanted to do more. Her friends and family also encouraged her to take the jump.
She's running to fill the vacancy left by retiring Judge Dawson Jackson.
"For years I've always had all these people that I've worked with, and that I worked with in the legal community especially encourage me to do it," said Blasi, 50, a mother of two. "And, I think it's because they know I'm experienced, and I'm fair.
"And, what I hear from a lot of people is that they want a judge who has the right temperament."
When she's not busy meeting and greeting people at various events around the county, she's doing her day job as an attorney with her Lawrenceville-based firm. At 16, it was a part-time job with Jones Webb at his law firm with W. Howard Fowler and William Tanner that set her on the legal path.
"They inspired me," she said of Webb, Fowler and Tanner. "Then I worked for a lawyer when I went to the University of North Carolina, that was my job during college. So, you know, I worked for lawyers, so I actually developed into a lawyer."
Eventually, she received her law degree from Georgia State University. She also has served as a Municipal Court judge in Duluth, and now specializes in mediation and land use.
Public service was particularly important in her family, as well. Two great-grandfathers were sheriffs of Gwinnett County; her father was a state legislator and an uncle was chairman of the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners.
"I'm from a family that believes in giving back to the community, so I've just always done these things," said the Lawrenceville resident.
In addition to her legal work, this Snellville native and South Gwinnett High alumna is active in a host of civic and charitable organizations. Currently, she is the board president for The Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia. She's also raises money for Gwinnett County legal aid, is a graduate of Leadership Gwinnett and served as past president of the Rotary Club of Gwinnett, among other activities.
"I've always been very committed to the community," she said. "I forget all the stuff I do because I don't do it so that I can tell people I do it, I just do it," Blasi said.
That, she said, is the most rewarding thing about her life as public servant. "Making a difference in people's lives" is what matter most to her.
The negative side -- all the long hours and lack of sleep -- are things she just gets used to. And, if she becomes a Superior Court judge she'll be even busier.
As a leader, Blasi said she tends to lean toward bringing people together, and as mother, she hopes she's modeled that kind of compassion and fairness, as well.
Her own parents, Jimmy Mason who died at 61 and Helen Phillips Mason who died at 66, were both examples of hard work.
In the rare moments when things slow down, Blasi said she really loves being with her extended family, many who are settled across Gwinnett County. She's also a big reader. If she had more time, she would probably get back into tennis -- something she picked up in high school.
With her family in full support behind her, Blasi is full-steam ahead with her candidacy for now, collecting endorsements from the likes of state Rep. Brett Harrell, who lost to her in the eighth grade when they both ran for president of Snellville Middle School, and Sheriff Butch Conway.
"Tracey has the integrity and personal high ethics that Gwinnett residents need and deserve in our judges. She will make an excellent judge," Conway said in his endorsement.
And, Harrell also agreed in his endorsement that Blasi was a person of integrity who "loves her community and respects the rule of law." He also threw in a playful barb about their last contest.
"I am grateful to the citizens of Snellville for allowing me to represent them in a number of capacities since the 8th grade - the last time I lost an election to Tracey Mason Blasi. I'm proud to join in support of Tracey for Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge and ask my friends and supporters to consider the same. After all, I certainly don't want her running for House!"
Considering her family history and her own ambitions to do more to give back, a run for Georgia's House of Representatives would not be far off base.