Hawthorne Elects First Woman Council Member in 10 Years


Councilwoman Rayna Laiosa being sworn in

Andrea Oliver, Staff Writer

After the scandal surrounding Hawthorne councilwoman Shirley Shortway-English, leading to her resignation in 2010 for disability fraud, there have been no female Hawthorne Borough Council  members.

That has recently changed.

Rayna Laiosa has been elected and sworn in by Mayor Richard Goldberg breaking the decades long drought. She took her oath of office with her family standing beside her. She will serve a four year term before she must run for the position again in 2023.

She took the place of Council Vice President John Bertollo as he decided against re-election. Councilwoman Laiosa won a tough race against her opponent, Thomas Bushnauskas, by only nine votes. It was a very close race with Laiosa getting 386 votes and  Bushnauskas getting 377: a less then one percent gap in the votes.

Councilwoman  Laiosa said in her address,”I would like to thank everyone who supported and voted for me as your Ward 2 councilwoman.  I would like to thank my husband, Edward Van Gunst, and our daughter Kaitlyn Van Gunst, and my parents Marie Walker and Jim Walker in Heaven for always supporting me and encouraging me. It’s been over a decade since a woman has been on the council and I’m honored to represent our Hawthorne residents in Ward 2.  I appreciate your confidence in my knowledge and experience to do what’s in the best interest of Hawthorne, and for recognizing my leadership with the local and county governments to resolve issues that will move Hawthorne forward.”