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The city councilor says she's focused on that role first and foremost, but she's committed to running for mayor in 2024.

PMG PHOTO: TROY SHINN - Hillsboro City Councilor Beach Pace (center), earned a second term on the council. At this campaign event on election night, Nov. 8, 2022, she confirmed that she will run for mayor in two years.

Newly reelected Hillsboro City Councilor Beach Pace says she will be running for mayor in two years, as the second and final term of current Mayor Steve Callaway comes to a close.

Pace has long been interested in the job. But she told Pamplin Media Group she's focused first on continuing her work on the council. She doesn't want anyone to think she's dreaming of greener pastures before she's done fulfilling her current role as Ward 1 city councilor.

"I am not officially announcing a run for mayor," Pace said. "It will be some time before I officially do that. … I have work to do yet. The ink is not yet dry on certifying this election, and I have not yet been sworn in to my second term. So, I will run, but I have work to do still."

She said she became interested in the role of mayor early in her first term. She, like other interested Hillsboro City Council members, has picked Callaway's brain about what the job entails and what it takes to do it well.

Pace says the mayorship is about representing Hillsboro both locally and throughout the state and region. She says it's also about bringing one's unique perspective to the role of chairing the city council.

"I see the mayor as the face of the city, the voice of the city, and also as the chair of the council," she said. "And there's a lot more to that — representation is one of them."

Pace brings a background in both corporate and nonprofit leadership, but also as a female Army veteran and an openly gay woman.

"As a female, as a veteran and as a lesbian … I would say there's a different point of view and a different voice than we've ever had on the council," Pace said, adding, "I do think representation matters, so I would bring that difference as well."

Callaway himself has provided mentorship to Pace on what the job entails. But he said that he's also learned from Pace and others whom he's served with on the council. With Pace, specifically, he said that he sought her advice on a speech he gave during Hillsboro's first Pride celebration in 2019.

"I think it's the sign of a healthy relationship," Callaway said. "You look to each other and ask each other, in order to get a clearer understanding of issues that are valuable in and of themselves but, when combined, help us govern well." PMG PHOTO: TROY SHINN - Hillsboro Mayor Steve Callaway speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony in Hillsboro for new affordable apartments in 2022.

Callaway was also clear that he has not made any endorsements for his replacement, and he doesn't want other interested candidates to think that he wouldn't offer the same advice to them.

"I think Beach has all the qualifications to be mayor and to be a good mayor," Callaway said. "But I don't think it's fair to her or anyone else who might be interested, when it's two years out, to that say that it would be my choice."

"I think it's an important enough position that you have to earn it on your own and not be the chosen person or the heir-apparent," he added. "Anybody who's interested should be able to run. And it's a lot of work to run and earn the endorsements and earn the votes and the trust of the community."

Pace again reiterated that, while she is set on running for the job, she doesn't take her election as a given.

"Yeah, I've got to get elected first," Pace said. "Because it's the will of the people, not my will. Now that this milestone has occurred in getting reelected to council, I can focus on my work on council. Then I can look ahead to 2024 and running a campaign again, which excites me."

Unofficial election results show Pace defeated Pat Ribellia with 58.1% of the vote to win a second term as city councilor Tuesday, Nov. 8.

She previously ran this year for Washington County chair, losing to incumbent Kathryn Harrington in May by about 8 percentage points.

Mayors in Hillsboro are limited to two terms, so when Callaway's second term ends on Dec. 31, 2024, his time as mayor is finished. Whoever replaces him will be sworn in January 2025.

If a member of the council replaces him, the rest of the councilors would appoint a replacement to serve the remainder of that councilor's term, if necessary. Pace would be midway through her term at that point, so a new councilor would be named to fill out the remaining two years of her term if she is elected mayor.

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