Candidate profile: Hart Morgan

Name: Hart Morgan

Age: 20

Immediate Family members: Dawn Morgan, mother, Sam A. Morgan, father, Kat Morgan, sister, Amelia Morgan, sister, and Janet Cissel, grandmother

Town: Shiloh

Office seeking: St. Clair Township Trustee

Occupation: Full-time student

Previous and current elected offices and terms served: I currently serve as the Student Trustee at SWIC. I represent the 15,000 or so students for a term of one academic year. I am also SWIC’s representative on the Illinois Community College Board Student Advisory Committee (ICCB-SAC), where I was appointed chairman of a subcommittee.

Why are you running? Being the grandson of a Word War II veteran, the son of a civil servant, and the nephew of a diplomat, I grew up in an environment of public service. I believe that as a citizen it is my responsibility to be a part of the public life of the nation. Service begins at home, and the township is the most local level of government. In our township I see many problems which I want to help fix.

What is your view on township government and its role? I am a firm believer in robust and representative local government. Townships have a long history in the Midwest of providing quality services to citizens at the level of government closest to them. Despite whatever claims might be made to the contrary, local people still know best what issues affect them and how to best address those issues. St. Clair Township provides road upkeep, waste treatment, general assistance, parks, and basic social services.

If you were writing a job description for the position you’re seeking, what would it say? A township trustee must be dedicated to the welfare of the township and its citizens. Responsibility, common sense, and an innovative vision for what can be are the foundational character traits of any candidate. As far as acquired skills, a trustee should have relevant experience as well. Confidence with procedure, public administration and the basics of the services provided by the township are key.

What is the most important issue facing St. Clair Township? How would you approach it? In my mind there are three major issues facing St. Clair Township. Primary among them is the massive sewer rate hike hundreds of our citizens have experienced under supervisor Dave Barnes. We pay to receive services; it is absurd to pay more and get nothing more in return. Secondly, the forced layoffs of employees of the road district has seriously harmed the ability of the road commissioner to keep on top of maintenance and snow removal. Finally, there is something nearing a complete lack of social services, particularly for seniors. I will spearhead an effort to improve these services starting with a full assessment of what sorts of services can be economically provided.

St. Clair Township has had its share of controversy lately including sewer rates and the number of employees in the highway department. What are your views on these issues? The issue of sewer rates is symbolic of the decay our township government has suffered in the last four years. Many of our citizens are being charged significantly above cost for the removal of their waste. As I have told residents, the present administration is having you charged 30 percent more on your sewer bill, yet somehow I doubt your shower drain has gotten 30 percent better. I have no false impression that it will be easy to clean up this mess. However, unlike Dave Barnes and his associates, I and the other folks on The Citizens for a Better Township ticket will dedicate ourselves to renegotiating this very bad deal. As far as the number of employees at the road district is concerned, I think the answer is easy. I disagree with the incumbent trustees’ decision to strip away the funding to pay longtime road district employees. I disagree with forced layoffs. We need five workers to keep on top of snow plowing in the winter and maintenance throughout the year. It is a simple question of practicality.

Why should people vote for you? I want to serve the citizens of St. Clair Township. I will be a responsible fiscal steward, a innovator, and an advocate for the people. In this, I will be a proponent for parks, road maintenance and improved services, particularly for seniors. I will advocate for a better quality of life for every citizen, insofar as my office will allow.