To visitors, Anacortes, Washington is a small town, quaint and touristy, a great place to vacation. But being mayor of this small community is a BIG job and Laurie Gere enjoys being Mayor.
“Being mayor is the coolest job I have ever had.”
Laurie Gere owns a small business in Anacortes. Known for its great food and large sandwiches, the popular Gere-a-Deli has been in business for over thirty years. The deli and the catering business employs a large staff and has been committed to this community since the doors opened, and so has Laurie Gere.
“I love my town,” Laurie said. Her long history of service to the town is evident. She served on the Chamber Board, served as Chamber President, has been on the Anacortes Planning Commission, and served many years on the Island Hospital Board of Commissioners, including as Chair. She has received numerous awards over the years, recognizing her dedication to community and to her business.
Around sixteen years ago the seed was planted that she should run for mayor. “People would ask me when was I going to run for mayor,” Laurie said. With Gere-a-Deli growing and keeping a tight rein on her availability, she felt she wasn’t ready yet. But, during each election, the seed grew a little more until finally she decided the time was right.
“If I was mayor I could make a difference.”
Anacortes is still very much a working town with diverse industries and economic layers, which require a strong leader, someone to help manage and coordinate.
And with her experience as a businesswoman in finance and public offices, Laurie felt she was ready and qualified. Going from a small business to mayor was a natural transition for Laurie Gere. She felt she had everything she needed in her toolbox to prepare her for the job.
With a new job comes some adjustments and for Laurie learning a new career was exciting, and yet, there were flutters of being the new kid on the block. Just learning names, and who did what, the departments, and how the departments interacted, took some time. Going from a private small business to a leadership role in a public entity was an adjustment. “The biggest change was the hours,” Laurie laughed. As a small business owner, especially a deli and catering business, she worked long hours, was up early, worked weekends, and put in long days. But her time was her own and flexible when it needed to be.