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From campaign trail to council seat: New council members prepared to serve
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Neither Chris Gaines nor Jason Powers had ever run for public office before throwing their hats in the ring for seats on the Dawsonville City Council. As they look back over the campaign and prepare to take office Jan. 2, the top two vote-getters in the 5-man race say theyre grateful, and theyre ready.

The campaign process was good, said Gaines. I spent many days going door-to-door, and I talked with a lot of people. One of the number one things I heard was that people at every level want new leadership. Its a tough year to be an incumbent, no matter who you are or what youve done.

Gaines, 34, said he probably brought in the votes because of his involvement and the passion he gives to the organizations hes already involved in. The leadership experience hes gained from owning his own business (The Gaines Agency) probably gave people confidence in him, too, he said.

Since he has already been heavily involved in the county, city and schools as a citizen, and currently chairs the Downtown Development Authority, Gaines has a head start on preparing for his new council position.

Ive seen a lot, looking at the city from an external view. Over the next few weeks, Ill be focused on getting a better understanding of the internal workings of the city, from the councils point of view, Gaines said.

I want to thank everyone who voted for me for giving me their trust and allowing me to provide leadership for the city, Gaines concluded. Im looking forward to diving in in January.

Having helped his brother, Justin Powers, campaign successfully in a special election last year for the Dawson County Clerk of Court position, Dawsonville REALTOR Jason Powers knew what he was in for as he started his own campaign. The hard work, long hours and focus paid off, but now that its over, he says hes glad to be getting back to some of the other things that are important to him.

The campaign was a very rewarding experience, said Powers. Summing up his strategy, he said, I listened to citizens and asked about their concerns and what is most important to them.

I was encouraged by what I saw...who Ill be serving and working with as a city council member. I think people voted for me because they saw that Im willing to do the hard work, to get out and give it my all.

Powers said he also stuck to principles he has followed in the real estate business, as in life, such as being friendly, honest and humble, and treating people the way hed like to be treated.

Id like to express my gratitude to the citizens for having confidence in me and voting for me to represent them. Im looking forward to being involved as Dawsonville continues to prosper and grow, Powers said. Im ready to buckle down and get started.

Gaines and Powers will be sworn in to office and begin their terms in January.