“Many of my friends and family have moved to Nashville and Los Angeles,” Worth Morgan told members of the Midtown Republican Club last night at our monthly meeting. “Going to Nashville particularly irks me,” he said.
The 28-year-old Morgan explained that was one of the reasons he decided to run for City Council District 5, the seat being vacated by mayoral candidate Jim Strickland. “My friend who moved to Nashville with his family is right. There’s more opportunity there than here as well as Charlotte and Austin. We have a talent retention problem here. Memphis needs to figure out how to be competitive. We are also losing people to Desoto County, West Memphis and Collierville. We can’t annex anymore so we’re in for a difficult time if we don’t keep people here. I’m 28 and born and raised here in Memphis and I decided that I will be here and I will be involved.”
Morgan sees a better cooperation between business and city government as one way to attack our problems. “The city government and the Council haven’t done a good job. There’s a big divide between the Council and the mayor. Sometimes they let petty politics get in the way of the bigger issues we’re facing. I’d like a better partnership with the Chamber of Commerce, too. They have some great initiatives, but the city doesn’t help.”
Aside from bringing opportunities here, Morgan sees crime as a No. 1 problem. “It’s critical to everyone. So is education. People ask where do I send my kids to school? Only 28% of our kids can read at the proper level. The City Council doesn’t have a lot of control over education, but I want to be an advocate for it and I would fund pre-K programs,” Morgan said.
As for raising property taxes, Morgan said he believes “the rates are already too high. There is also the psychological aspect of it. An increase would be a disaster in the minds of many Memphians.”
Nor does Morgan think the Fairgrounds project works. “A youth sports plan is dead in the water. It’s a little too half baked. That trend is already over.”
On the smart meters issue Morgan said he’d like to hear testimony from both sides. “I’m a geek,” he said, though he indicated the recently proposed $240 million by MLGW for them was a great deal of money the city doesn’t have. “I’d like to see more efficiency in the city budget.
“I want us to be a responsive government,” he added. “I want to hear from you now and if I win the race on issues you’re concerned about. It’s something I’m going to take on full time.” Currently a sales executive at Sunstar Insurance of Memphis, Morgan says the race has him “wake up excited about my schedule and I go to bed exhausted. I don’t plan on climbing the ladder of politics, but this is something I can do now.”
He faces a large field. Also competing are Dan Springer, Charles “Chooch” Pickard and Mary Wilder. “There are 57,000 voters in District 5,” Morgan noted. “Turnout is about 35,000. About 10,000 votes will win the race so word of mouth is important.”
Morgan will also launch signs and cards around the 4th of July. He has a website www.worthmorganforcitycouncil.com for more information.