Continuing our admittedly somewhat pointless speculation about who will vie to be Patrick Dowd's successor on City Council, we now turn toward another community leader widely rumored to be interested: Lawrenceville United executive director Lauren Byrne.
It's no surprise that her name has surfaced: Byrne has been a mayoral staffer, working as a community liaison for both the O'Connor and Ravenstahl administrations. Her grandmother is Aggie Brose, a longtime community leader with the Bloomfield Garfield Corporation. And Byrne's current post has her running one of District 7's leading community organizations. (Interestingly, Lawrenceville United was
founded by previously helmed by Tony Ceoffe, whose son is also considering a run.)
Byrne acknowledges that she has thought about running for council -- someday. "It's always been something I've thought I might want to do," she says. But with Dowd's surprising decision to step down next month, the possibility is no longer quite so remote. And Byrne says that as far as running this time around, "To be honest, it's not something I've really thought about." Mostly, she says, she's been trying to figure out how Dowd's departure will affect her organization's initiatives: "I'm sad to see Patrick go," she says.
But Byrne, who is about to take a weeklong vacation, says she started getting calls very soon after news of Dowd's move broke. "I haven't talked to anyone [about a potential campaign], and all the sudden I was running," she says with a laugh.
But while Byrne won't rule out a run, she says it's unlikely at this point.
"This district is full of capable people," she says. "There are a lot of community volunteers here, and I'm interested to see who steps forward." If none of those community leaders jumps into the race, she says, that would be a factor in her own decision.
"But I hope it doesn't come to that," she says. "I like what I'm doing now, and I like being away from the craziness of the [City-County Building's] 5th floor."
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story wrongly characterized Tony Ceoffe's role in Lawrenceville United.