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(UPDATE) Christopher Gagnon, insurance executive, running for City Commission At-large

campaign coverage Decatur

(UPDATE) Christopher Gagnon, insurance executive, running for City Commission At-large

Christopher Gagnon. Image provided to Decaturish
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Editor’s note: Reader support is essential to helping us cover local races in the Nov. 5 municipal elections. If you aren’t a subscriber, you can support us for as little as $3 a month. To learn more about subscribing, click here.

During qualifying week, Aug. 19 through Aug. 23, Decaturish will post daily updates about candidates who have qualified to run in local elections. There will be a full recap of all the candidates running in Decatur, Avondale Estates and Tucker once qualifying ends. There will be ongoing coverage of each race through Nov. 5. 

To see all of our stories related to the Nov. 5, 2019 elections, visit: https://decaturish.com/category/election-coverage

UPDATE: On the last day of qualifying, Aug. 21, Christopher Gagnon switched races and will now run against incumbent City Commissioner Tony Powers for the At-large seat on the city commission. 

Here is Gagnon’s announcement explaining his decision to switch races: 

As I’ve watched a number of my neighbors join the race for City Commission it’s become clear to me that our vacant District 1 seat will be well-served regardless of the outcome of the election.  I’m excited to see the caliber of intelligent, compassionate candidates who have qualified for these seats.  As such, I see no need to oppose them.

I originally decided to run for city commission to protect this city that I love from the controversial rapid-fire changes that have slipped past our city commission while our residents are left scratching our heads.

Like many of my neighbors I’ve been dumbfounded at this direction and I believe our voices will only be heard with fresh leadership in a majority position on our city commission.  As such I have worked with our city clerk’s office to withdraw my candidacy for the District 1 post and have instead qualified for candidacy for the at-large post.

My family and I spent several years living in Oakhurst and I have the same affinity for District 2 as I do for District 1.  Living in our current home on West Howard, the border of both districts, puts us in the enviable position of belonging to a community that truly includes both sides of the city.  I’m excited to give all of my neighbors an additional choice in November.

In times of dissent no incumbent should run unopposed. Democracy provides for choice and choice is good regardless of the outcome of a race. This path will definitely be harder but I’m up for the challenge.  If you feel displaced by the direction our city is headed, I’d like to give you a different choice.

I’m looking forward to the next few months of debate as we decide the future of our city.

Here is our initial story announcing his candidacy for the District 1 seat  ….

Christopher Gagnon, an executive for commercial insurance brokers, announced he is running for the District 1 seat on the Decatur City Commission.

The incumbent is Commissioner Scott Drake, who has decided not to seek reelection. The election is Nov. 5.

Gagnon said the city needs a new direction.

“I’m troubled by many of the irrational, irresponsible decisions that have been coming out of our city government for the past several years.  Controversial new projects are increasingly taking priority over basic maintenance of our streets and sidewalks,” he said. “The cost of housing is reaching laughable levels and our schools are facing looming overcrowding under a nonstop flood of high-density apartment buildings. Our ability as residents to raise our children and lead private lives in a quaint, diverse city is now in jeopardy.  Our ability to receive information on what the city is planning along with an ability to have a say in those decisions is in jeopardy.”

Gagnon and his wife have seven daughters who have been or are currently students in the school system.

“We live on West Howard, walk to Thinking Man, Imperial, U-Joint, Leon’s, Butter and Cream; we buy books at Little Shop and sarcastic socks at SQ/FT; our kids have wandered the square after school since 2007,” Gagnon said. “I post jokes on our neighborhood Facebook groups that annoy as many of you as I entertain.  I complain about our property taxes every year, then remind myself that we have multiple recreation centers and more swimming pools than square miles of city real estate.  I’ve run every one of those 4.5 square miles, I cut my grass on the weekends and I drag my yellow and blue trash bags to the curb every week.”

He encourages other people to run for office if they feel the same way he does about the direction of city government.

“It’s time for a change and I will gladly support my neighbors in turning the tide,” Gagnon said. “Like Area 51, they can’t stop us all.  I’m running because I love this town, my neighbors, our homes, businesses, churches, festivals, overpriced doughnuts and online flame-wars.  I will not stand idly by while a handful of people turn our very functional, diverse city into an overpriced, overcrowded beehive filled with weed-filled dayglo plastic planters, randomly reprogrammed traffic lights, raging rivers of rainfall down roads and yards next to road stripes freshly painted over old potholes. Decatur is greater. Let’s keep it that way.”

Here is his full announcement:

My name is Christopher Gagnon. I’m a businessman, a father, a homeowner and resident of Decatur. My wife and I have a combined seven daughters; three who graduated from Decatur High School, two still there and one at F.AVE. We live on West Howard, walk to Thinking Man, Imperial, U-Joint, Leon’s, Butter and Cream; we buy books at Little Shop and sarcastic socks at SQ/FT; our kids have wandered the square after school since 2007.  I post jokes on our neighborhood Facebook groups that annoy as many of you as I entertain. I complain about our property taxes every year, then remind myself that we have multiple recreation centers and more swimming pools than square miles of city real estate.  I’ve run every one of those 4.5 square miles, I cut my grass on the weekends and I drag my yellow and blue trash bags to the curb every week. I’m just like you and I’ve been perfectly happy to remain a private citizen.

I’m troubled by many of the irrational, irresponsible decisions that have been coming out of our city government for the past several years.  Controversial new projects are increasingly taking priority over basic maintenance of our streets and sidewalks.  The cost of housing is reaching laughable levels and our schools are facing looming overcrowding under a nonstop flood of high-density apartment buildings.  Our ability as residents to raise our children and lead private lives in a quaint, diverse city is now in jeopardy.  Our ability to receive information on what the city is planning along with an ability to have a say in those decisions is in jeopardy.  I can only imagine our city officials find our social media posts quite amusing as we, the citizens who are the very source of the city budget are forced to speculate what the heck is going on with our own streets while they remain suspiciously absent from the public debate.

Somebody has to stand up and protect our town from overdevelopment, overspending, and pet projects.  I would love to vote for a responsible neighbor with a voice of reason, compassion and inclusion and I imagine you would too.  Public service isn’t an easy path and most of my neighbors have family, career and personal commitments that prevent them from running.  So, I’m standing up to give you that choice.  I’m up for the challenge.  If elected I will assure that every resident of this city be given ample notice of city projects, that every project be given proper independent diligence and that we stop wasting our tax dollars on controversial new projects while the basic infrastructure of the city wastes away.  My approach is simple and is likely just like yours: fix the basics, perform actual project diligence, notify our neighbors and respect every voice.

I also encourage every other displaced citizen of this city to consider running with me.  It’s time for a change and I will gladly support my neighbors in turning the tide.  Like Area 51, they can’t stop us all.  I’m running because I love this town, my neighbors, our homes, businesses, churches, festivals, overpriced doughnuts and online flame-wars.  I will not stand idly by while a handful of people turn our very functional, diverse city into an overpriced, overcrowded beehive filled with weed-filled dayglo plastic planters, randomly reprogrammed traffic lights, raging rivers of rainfall down roads and yards next to road stripes freshly painted over old potholes.  Decatur is greater.  Let’s keep it that way.

I look forward to meeting you all and participating in a lively debate!

Christopher Gagnon

Candidate for Decatur City Commission, District 1

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