Morris, 19, wants to be Columbiana’s next mayor

“People in Columbiana don’t want to see Walmart or Publix come in, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m going to try to bring back industry — like large industry like automotive plants like Hyundai — to the industrial side of the city. Alabama has attracted lots of automotive industries by giving tax breaks and other incentives, and I intend to do something like that,” he said.

Morris would also like to see Columbiana develop a recreational park that would include a walking path, skateboard section and a grassy field where people could toss around a football or Frisbee.

“I think we would be the only place in the Birmingham area to have a skate park,” Morris said.

He was part of a group in 2006 that successfully lobbied the Columbiana City Council’s approval to develop a skate park here, but that effort fell apart when the group was not able to raise the funds necessary to build it.

“I believe we could develop that park with minimal city funds if we go after third-party grants, like from the Tony Hawk Foundation,” Morris said. “Lots of police equipment and things like that are paid for with state or federal funding, but that’s still the citizens’ money, regardless of where it comes from.”

The plight of small businesses is something that also concerns Morris. His family at one time operated Morris Florists in Columbiana. He said small business owners who operate here but who do not live within the city limits deserve a voice in city decisions.

“Several small business owners who don’t live inside the city limits have told me they never get a say in what affects their businesses,” Morris said. “I would like to have a representative of small businesses at all city meetings, like get all the small businesses together and basically have them elect someone who would represent their interests and have that person attend city council meetings. The only people I see there now, in addition to council members, is the police and fire chief and the lawyer.”

Morris, while he does not attend every city council meeting, has been doing so sporadically for a number of years. He complained about how long it took the council to pass its recent revamped sign ordinance.

“It took from last fall to this spring for them to come up with a new sign ordinance. Was that too long? Absolutely,” he said.

He said he would like to examine city expenses and look for ways to save money and increase productivity.

“For example, if you make a special request, the people who pick up trash will come up to your door to get it, rather than you having to take it to the curb.” That process could be more productive, he said.

Morris hasn’t gotten his campaign into full gear yet, but said he would soon be visiting residents by going door-to-door and handing out business cards with his campaign information. He said Janice Faulkner is his campaign treasurer, and that Buck Faulkner has given him advice on his campaign.

“Mayor (Allan) Lowe helped me fill out some forms the other day. He’s helped me out with a few things,” Morris said.

“There are a lot of beautiful things about Columbiana,” he said. “There’s lots right here. The people in this community are loving and generous and help each other. We have a beautiful Main Street and people from all over the county get to see that because we are the county seat. I’m going to try to keep it that way, while bringing back jobs.”

What does he hope to be doing when he graduates college in four years?

“If everything goes right, I should be campaigning for my re-election,” Morris said.