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Gainesville insurance broker joins City Council

Couvillon, Dunagan to be sworn in after today’s meeting

POSTED: December 26, 2013 11:59 p.m.

Sam Couvillon, newly elected Gainesville city councilman, at his insurance brokerage office downtown. Couvillon and new Mayor Danny Dunagan will be sworn into office today after the scheduled council meeting.

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Newly elected Gainesville City Councilman Sam Couvillon will be sworn in after today’s meeting alongside Danny Dunagan, the city’s first directly elected mayor.

Couvillon, 43, will represent Ward 1 in northwest Gainesville, and said he hopes to bring an open mind and fresh set of eyes to the board.

“I looked at the makeup of the board and felt like we needed some new blood,” he said. “I feel like I’m a good, level-headed thinker, and I think I have a lot to offer from a leadership standpoint.”

Though he didn’t run for the position with a particular issue in mind, Couvillon said he believes the two most important things for Gainesville to address are its traffic congestion and how to remain an attractive location for businesses.

“I want to make sure we continue to drive business to Gainesville and that it remains a place where people want to do business,” he said. “Also, Gainesville is growing and at some point we’re going to have to address the issue of traffic.

“Whether it is the Green Street corridor or the E.E. Butler and Jesse Jewell interchange, we’ve got some tough decisions that we are going to have to make.”

However, Couvillon said he has little experience with politics and plans on learning from longtime council members before he attempts any changes.

“I’m not going to have preconceived solutions for problems,” he said. “There was not one issue that I wanted to fix when I ran, but I am open-minded and ready to listen to try and solve any issues that come up.

“I want to be very involved in the process, and not just a bystander on the board.”

The native of Athens is a broker for BB&T Insurance Services and has lived in Gainesville since 2008, when he moved from Jacksonville, Fla. He is married to Margie Couvillon and has two daughters, Molly and Sarah Grace, who are in Gainesville city schools.

Couvillon said he values public service highly. He is an ambassador for the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce and is active with United Way of Hall County and Gainesville First United Methodist Church, where he teaches a Sunday school class. In addition, he is in the 2013 class of Leadership Hall County, a chamber of commerce initiative that aims to educate existing and emerging leaders in the community about various aspects of Gainesville and Hall County.

Couvillon attributes his desire for public service to his father-in-law, Walton Moore.

“The Moores were a lifelong Gainesville family, and (Walton) was probably my inspiration,” he said. “He was a banker for 35 years, but he got involved in public service by serving on the school board.

“He’s always been my mentor as far as getting involved in the community and being service-oriented.”

Couvillon said there would be a large learning curve as he begins his service on the council.

“I have no idea if I am going to serve on the City Council for four years, eight years or more,” he said. “I just want to keep Gainesville as a desirable place for people to live and for businesses to move to.”


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