Since moving to northwest Georgia six years ago, Tate O’Gwin has been very active in a number of civic and community organizations. But he says he didn’t contemplate running for elected office until very recently.
“I don’t have any political aspirations. It isn’t something that I’ve always dreamed of doing. But it’s something I thought I could be good at, and from all of the boards that I’ve served on I knew that my financial background is something that might be useful,” he said. “With the mayor stepping off (next year to run for governor), I thought it was important to have a downtown business owner on the council. And I also thought it was important to have someone of my generation on the council.”
O’Gwin, 34, was unopposed in the Nov. 5 election for Dalton City Council Ward 2. Dick Lowrey, who currently holds that seat, did not run for re-election. O’Gwin will take office in January.
He and his wife Kate, an attorney, have one child and another on the way, and he says that shapes how he will approach his job as council member.
“I know the decisions I make will not only affect me down the road but my family and children as well,” he said. “I share the philosophy of the current council of limiting the size of government and making sure there’s no wasteful spending. I didn’t get into this because there was this one thing I wanted to change. I want to see decisions made the right way, with a focus on the long term, and I think my background as a financial adviser will help me do that. That is what I help people do every day.”
A graduate of the University of Georgia where he received a bachelor’s degree in finance from the Terry College of Business, O’Gwin is vice president of the Kiwanis Club of Dalton, sits on the Zoning Board of Appeals and is a trustee for the Whitfield Healthcare Foundation. He has been a member of the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Georgia and has participated as a Big Brother.
O’Gwin says he applauds the current council’s efforts to build a stronger partnership with Dalton State College.
“If the college begins to grow and attract more people from out of this area, I’d like to see if we can find some way to create a residence for students downtown,” he said. “That would be a boost for downtown and I think it could help the college market itself. But I’d be open to any way we can work with the college.”
O’Gwin promises to be accessible to voters.
“If there are issues they have, things they want to discuss, I want them to feel comfortable stopping me on the street or calling me,” he said. “I don’t have any agenda other than doing what’s best for the city, so as issues come up, I plan to take time to make up my mind. And I want to hear from the people what they think about these issues.”