Name: SJ Morrison
Immediate family members: Wife (Emily); Son (Schafer)
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Office seeking: Ward 4 Alderman - Edwardsville City Council
Occupation: Director of Marketing & Planning, Agency for Community Transit
Previous and current elected offices and terms served: None.
Why are you running? I love the Edwardsville community. I was born here, I’m raising my family here, and I’d like to have a voice in its future. I am running because I want to preserve and enhance that which makes Edwardsville great: the neighborhoods, the vibrant downtown, the local businesses, the events, the bike trails, the fantastic schools, and the vital partnerships with SIUE and LCCC, to name a few. I’m running because the next five years will be an important time for our community in terms of growth and I want to ensure that it’s handled in a smart and community-driven manner. I’m running because I believe that as residents it’s our job to help shape the places we live, and fight for their good.
What is the most important issue facing the City of Edwardsville? How would you approach it? In the next five years, Edwardsville is going to grow, and I want to make sure that we retain the charm, diversity and character that our residents have come to enjoy. If elected, I will convene public meetings to ask residents what the “best case scenario” looks like for our growth corridors and then work with Edwardsville’s staff to develop a plan, accordingly. I’m a proponent of bike, pedestrian, and ADA accessibility, ample greenspace and trees, neighborhood-scale developments, and small business cultivation. I want to be a city that is pursuing developments which enhance the character of our community.
If you were writing a job description for the position you’re seeking, what would it say? The members of the City Council are responsible for steering the direction of the city. On a macro level, the City Council members and the Mayor are the chief visionaries for the city – offering their hope and their plan for the city’s future and then working with staff to implement that vision. On a micro level, the City Council reviews and makes decisions about plans, develops ordinances, engages the public, responds to the needs of residents, acts as city ambassadors and makes informed decisions that impact the look, feel, safety, infrastructure and culture of our community.
How would you keep costs down or reduce costs in city government? As stewards of the taxpayer’s dollar and guardians of the public’s trust, it’s important that the city is fiscally responsible. The city is already transparent in their spending and is also very conscientious about following standard spending guidelines such as obtaining multiple bids and working to keep costs down. Continuing this pattern of fiscal responsibility is important. I value the services that government provides, and therefore want to ensure that those services remain financially viable for generations.
Why should people vote for you? I have a record of community service, a very clear vision for our city’s future and a strong desire to serve. I have worked for more than 10 years in transportation planning, and have developed an understanding for how an efficient public agency operates. My career experience has also provided firsthand knowledge of state and federal grants, public engagement, policy making and the importance of fiscal responsibility. I am committed to the Edwardsville community and have the energy to be a responsive public servant as well as the passion and creativity to preserve and enhance those qualities that make our city great.