Morris, 19, wants to be Columbiana’s next mayorPublished 4:20pm Thursday, July 12, 2012
By JAN GRIFFEY/Editor
COLUMBIANA — The youngest candidate to have qualified in this year’s mayor’s race — Matthew G. Morris, Jr., 19 — asks just one thing of voters:
“I don’t want people to look at me and see a kid straight out of high school. I want people to listen to my ideas without the preconceived notion that I’m just a kid,” he said.
Morris qualified last week to seek the mayor’s seat in Columbiana. He graduated in May from Shelby County High School and is enrolling in the University of Montevallo to study political science.
An only child, Morris was raised right outside of Columbiana, but recently moved into the city limits. His mother, Lucinda Griffith, still lives in the home in Wilsonville, where Morris was raised.
“I grew up right outside the Columbiana city limits past Cornerstone,” he said.
His father, Matthew Morris Sr., lives in Destin, Fla.
“I feel like Columbiana is drying up,” he said. “All the small businesses are leaving that were here when I grew up. The only reason people are coming here is to pay a speeding ticket.”
And, Morris thinks that’s just fine with many current Columbiana leaders and residents.
“I don’t think the current or past administrations have tried very hard to keep businesses or bring in new businesses. I think most of the people who live and grew up in Columbiana don’t want big businesses to come in because they think it will destroy the culturally-rich feel of Columbiana. And, that’s a legitimate concern,” Morris said.
He said Columbiana needs jobs, and good jobs come from big industry. He said he would work to attract larger industries using tax incentives.